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REMBRANDT 



First Edition, Two Volumes, November, 1S93. 

Second Edition, Tivo Volumes, October, 1895. 

Third Edition, One Volume, October, 190J. 




1 



Ptiiired by AChas«.cpo^ Pans. 



Port mil of RciiibraiuU ( lOjz). 

(j.QUVKE.) 



REMBRANDT 

His Life^ his Worh^ and his Time 



BY 

EMILE MICHEL 

MEMBER OF THE INSTITUTE OF FRANCE 



FROM THE FRENCH BY EDITED DY 

FLORENCE SIMMONDS FREDERICK WEDMORE 



A NEW EDI710N 
WITH THREE HUNDRED AND TWENTT-SIX ILLUSTRATIONS 



London : WILLIAM HEINEMANN 
New York : CHAS. SCRIBNER'S SONS 

MCMIJI 



Art 

Lihrarv 



NOTE TO THIRD EDITION 



The steady demand for M. Emile Michel's Life of Re/ubrandf, which 
has definitely taken its place as the standard modern work on the great Dutch 
master, seems to point to the need for a popular edition of this admirable 
study. The present volume contains all the illustrations and the complete 
text of the former editions, with the author's latest corrections ; it will, in this 
cheaper form, it is hoped, meet this want, and place the work within the reach 
of a wider public. 

London, 1903. 



j^ll rights rcerz'cf. 




VIEW OF A TOWN. 

Pen drawing heightened with wash. (Berlin Print Room.) 



EDITOR'S PREFACE 




I 



HAD better point out at once 
such changes as it has been 
thought desirable to make 
in placing before the English- 
reading public Monsieur Michel's 
comprehensive book on that pic- 
torial artist whom all schools of 
criticism unite to honour. Those 
changes will be found to consist 
almost entirely in that which 
concerns the illustration, for in 
regard to the literary work the 
Editor's duty to the public and 
to the writer was mainly to pre- 
sent Monsieur Michel's substance 
and style in the best English 
at the command of a translator 
of taste, and the English of Miss Simmonds has 
surely done as little violence as possible to the Ercnch 
of the Frenchman. In aiming to be correct, Miss Sim- 
monds has not lost sight of the necessity of being readable. 
I have ventured to correct here and there a few errors of 
fact— misprints, in all probability, in the French edition— and 



PORTRAIT — supposed to be either titus or the 

PKINCE OF ORANGE. 

1641 (B. 310). 



vi EDITOR'S PREFACE 

these small corrections have been greatly supplemented— dare 
I say completed ?— by the list of corrections which Monsieur 
Michel himself has supplied for our present issue, and which 
are now embodied in it. I have also, with now and again the 
kind assistance of owners of important Rembrandts and such 
serious students of the Master's work as Mr. Humphry Ward, 
Mr. Claude Phillips, Mr. Walter Armstrong (the Director 
of the Irish National Gallery), and Mr. J. M. Gray (the 
Curator of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery), made 
certain corrections and additions in that Appendix of 
Monsieur Michel's which deals with the whereabouts of 
great Rembrandt pictures in the United Kingdom. 

Ao-ain, in dealing with the etchings — things which the 
collector of every land must love ; things in which, as I 
conceive it, the art of Rembrandt found after all its amplest 
and most exquisite expression — due reference has been made 
to the Catalogue of Wilson, which Monsieur Michel had 
omitted to cite. Wilson's Catalogue, though comparatively 
elementary, and in this respect a contrast to the elaborate 
undertakings of later times (it was published in 1836), has 
never been wholly superseded. It enjoys the advantages — 
profits by the convenience — of its simplicity. Charles Blanc's 
is the Catalogue employed most habitually in France. Later 
in date, and more advanced and searching perhaps in its 
analysis of " states," it comes often usefully to Wilson's aid. 
I should have liked, but that it might have clogged our pages 
almost unduly, to have cited it, and also the latest and 
greatest of these Catalogues raisonnes — that of iMonsieur 
Dutuit, published so luxuriously in illustration and elucida- 
tion of his own wonderful cabinet of Rembrandt's prints. 
The collector at all events cannot afford to disregard that, 
any more than the Charles Blanc ; but its inevitably ex- 
pensive form may continue to forbid its popular use. This 
tribute to it was due. While adding in the Catalogue 
proper — not throughout the course of the volume — the 
references to Wilson, I might personally have felt it 
permissible, and even wise, to discard the reference to 
Bartsch which Monsieur Michel has maintained. For the 
English student of Rembrandt — especially for the student 
o-f "states" — Bartsch is scarcely up to date. Often a con- 
venient, sometimes the only handy source of knowledge on 
the engraving of many older masters, that excellent Eighteenth 



EDITOR'S PREFACE vii 

Century Viennese connoisseur has, as an authority on 
Rembrandt, been in a measure superseded. But we have 
thought it politic to be conservative, and have retained the 
old while introducing much of the more recent.^ 

And now for the illustrations themselves. Almost directly 
the publisher consulted me about the book I told him that 
the French edition, along with all that it contained of value 
and of charm, seemed to me actually burdened by the presence 
of a few photogravures and a few coloured reproductions 
of drawings which he would do well to dispense w^ith. What 
they precisely were need not here be said.^ A comparison of 
the two editions it is open to any one to make. But 
while proposing to leave out these things, I wanted the 
publisher to make good certain omissions in Monsieur 
Michel's list of illustrations, and asked him to include, either 
as photogravures or illustrations in the text, some further 
English Rembrandts of note and of high merit. He 
assented ; and thus it is that in the present edition we are 
enabled — thanks too to their owners' graciousness — to have 
reproductions of Lord Ilchester's noble picture, Renibrandf 
in a Yellow Gaberdine, of the Glasgow Corporation's picture 
of a Man in Armour, of the Hendrickje St off els of the Scottish 
National Gallery, and of Mr. Samuel Joseph's Saskia, while, 
as a minor matter, Mr. Spielmann's offer of a Rembrandt 
pen-and-ink drawing enables us to add one more to the series 
of Rembrandt's artistic dealings with the story of Tobit. 

Nor does the enumeration of these additions quite end the 
tale of changes. In the French issue the reproductions of 
certain of the etchings were very unsatisfactory. A fresh 
block has been made of the Lntina, which was so "woolly" 
in the French publication. I hope the new one is better. Mr. 
Gray lent us the etching. Again, a fresh block has been made 
(because with work of its extreme delicacy the scale formerly 
adopted was quite insufficient) of that delightful early etching 
of Rembrandt's mother which Mr. Hamerton has so fittingly 
eulogised— it appears on the first page— the small reproduc- 
tion of the Third State of the Clement de Jonglie has been 

1 This new issue allows mc the opportunity of saying that I should have included in 
the text of the Preface, an acknowledgment of the studious and serviceable labours of 
the Rev. C. H, Middlcton-Wakc, had not his Catalogue, and the views expressed in it, 
been the subject of frequent allusion in M. Michel's own pages. 

2 Nine of the photogravures referred to as omitted, have been added to the present 
edition. 



viii EDITOR'S PREFACE 

supplemented by a reproduction of the First State, which I 
happen to possess ; we give also, for the first time, a block 
from the wonderful boy-portrait which was once supposed to 
be Titus and then supposed to be a little Prince of Orange 
(No. 311 in Wilson's Catalogue), and, finally, I invited 
the publisher to include the reproduction of a plate of 
sketches on the copper, which is of great rarity (Wilson, 
No. 364), and of which only a part of the interest is that 
it does undoubtedly contain one of Rembrandt's portraits 
of himself — a portrait so remarkable for vigour, assurance, 
and freedom, that I hardly wonder at the opinion w^hich 
was entertained of this print, in the full ripeness of his 
judgment, by that admirable connoisseur, Monsieur Dutuit, 
who goes so far as to say, in his great Catalogue, that it is 
one of the very best of Rembrandt's pieces. 

So much for the subtractions and additions in the matter 
of illustration. There remains but a final word. 

No student who has ever acquired a vivid interest in 
Rembrandt's life and work can expect to agree absolutely in 
all the conclusions of another — be that other never so learned 
— be he Monsieur Michel himself. While acquiescing 
o-enerally in Monsieur Michel's views— in the views of a 
critic so sound and careful — even an Editor may feel, here and 
there, a disposition to differ. But whatever latitude of 
quarrel one might have left one's self as a writer, as an Editor 
has been sternly curtailed. I have for the most part been 
reticent. Least of all could it have been fitting that I 
should, in this place, have said a word bearing in any 
direction on certain ancient, and well-known, and more or 
less personal disputes in which it has never been my 
desire to have a part. While doing my best to ensure 
the adequate presentation of Monsieur Michel's labours, 
and the comprehensive illustration of Rembrandt's consum- 
mate art, I have, speaking generally, sought to efface 
myself. Just once and again, on minor matters of fact or 
of opinion, I have ventured a remark in a foot-note — a 
foot-note printed in italics, that it may be abundantly clear 
that I alone, and not ]\Ionsieur Michel, must be accounted 
responsible for the little that is there said. 

FREDERICK WEDMORE. 







?^^4e2Ss^ 




A VILLAGE, WITH A CANAL AND A VESSFI- UNDER SAIL. 

About 1645 (B. 22S). 



AUTHOR'S INTRODUCTION 




T 



HE short monograph on Rembrandt 
which I contributed to the Artistes 
Cdcbres series^ in 18S5 was the 
germ of this more extensiv^e study. The 
subject had long attracted me. Travels in 
Germany, frequent visits to Holland, and 
familiarity with his etched work, all tended 
to increase my admiration for the master. 
My researches in connection with the earlier 
monograph made me aware of many gaps in 
my knowledge of his life and art ; they 
also fired me with the desire for a closer 
acquaintance. 

The general plan of this work lay ready to my hand. It was 
marked out by my earlier essay, and I have naturally adhered to 
the chronological method there adopted. Rembrandt's life was so 
wholly given to his art that the two cannot be divorced in narrative ; 
their unity is complete, the one illuminating the other. It was his 
almost invariable custom to carefully note the dates of his creations. 
Perhaps no artist has shown a like precision in such matters ; none 
was so often his own model ; none has left such innumerable studies 
of father, mother, wife, and all who were dear to him. Though 
much has been written about his life, its actual facts were little 

^ Librairic dc l Art. 



REMEKANDT IN A FLAT CAl'. 
Abcut 1638 (B. 26). 



X AUTHOR'S INTRODUCTION 

known till the last few years. His taste for solitude, and great 
independence of character, combined to hold him aloof from the 
foremost men of his day. The brief popularity he enjoyed on first 
settling in Amsterdam was succeeded by the poverty and neglect 
in which he died. Hence the information to be gleaned from his 
contemporaries is very scanty. For our knowledge of his early 
years we are mainly indebted to a bare page in the Description 
of Leydeu by J. Orlers, Burgomaster of the city, published in 
1 64 1, when the young artist was at the height of his fame, and to 
Sandrart's slightly more explicit account. The latter narrative 
has a double interest. Widely as they differed both in taste and 
aim, Sandrart too was a painter, and had no doubt a personal 
acquaintance with his brilliant confrere. Samuel van Hoogstraten's 
disappointing reticence as to the details of his master's career 
was supplemented to some extent by Houbraken. But Houbraken's 
facts are interwoven with a mass of those suspicious anecdotes 
which adorn the plain tale of so many artistic biographies. Campo- 
Weyermann, Dargenville, Descamps, and others added further 
embellishments, boldly piling fable on fable for the amusement of 
their readers, till legend gradually ousted truth. The spendthrift 
who could never learn the value of money, and scattered it like 
some young noble, was, according to them, a miser ; that lofty spirit, 
the author of so many fine creations, was, we are told, the boon 
companion of vulgarity and degradation. His marriage with a 
fair peasant of Ransdorp, his pretended death, his journey to Venice, 
his threats that he would forsake his native land if not treated with 
greater respect — threats he actually carried out by settling at Hull 
or Yarmouth, say some, in Sweden, say others, and there ending 
his days — all these are among the inventions current till the middle 
of the present century. 

To Mr. Eduard Kolloff, a scholar whose claims have been 
somewhat overlooked of late, the inauguration of a more exact and 
learned system of criticism is due. His study on Rembrandt is 
insufficiently known, mainly, no doubt, by reason of its appearance 
in a very unlikely publication.^ It is marked, however, by a pene- 
tration and precision to which Burger and Vosmaer have hardly 
done justice commensurate with the advantage they reaped there- 
from. 

With the works of these two writers, who relied chiefly on Kolloff, 
a new era began in Rembrandt literature, an era inaugurated by the 

^ Rembrandfs Lcbcn und Werke^ published in ir. von Raumer's Historiches 
Taschenbuch, Leipzig, 1S54, p. 401 et sea. 



AUTHOR'S INTRODUCTION xi 

fruitful researches of Messrs. Scheltema, R. Elzevier, Eckhoff and Van 
der WilHgen. Burger propagated their discoveries far and wide, 
stimulating the zeal of the pioneers, and, by his fervid enthusiasm, 
imparting to his readers something of that passionate, almost exclusive 
admiration, with which he had come to regard the master.^ But the 
task Burger had set himself to accomplish was destined to be carried 
out by a Dutchman, and Vosmaer showed himself equal to the lofty 
work his patriotism had suggested, by the pious care he brought to 
bear upon it, and by his profound study of his subject in all its ramifi- 
cations. To his skilful grouping of facts already ascertained, he 
added the sum of his own discoveries.^ His perfect knowledge of 
Dutch literature enabled him to paint the artist among his actual 
surroundings, and to show how far Rembrandt had been inspired by 
these, how far by the originality of his genius. 

Thenceforward the master's triumph was assured. Worshippers, 
fervent, if few, he had always commanded ; but the public has been 
gradually won over. Increasing facilities of intercourse have opened 
up the museums and private galleries which possess his works ; 
engravings and photographs of his pictures, and facsimiles of his 
drawings have familiarised us with the force and fecundity of his 
wonderful genius. Far from satiating the appetite of inquiry, these 
various forms of research have stimulated the desire for more perfect 
knowledge. Among writers of the last ten years who have specially 
devoted themselves to the quest, Messrs. W. Bode and A. Bredius 
are facile principes. 

The limitations of Vosmaer are very evident. He had seen but 
a portion of the master's pictures, and his aesthetic perception was 
by no means equal to his erudition. Dr. Bode took up his work, and 
corrected it at many points by the light of his own purer and more 
experienced taste. In his constant travels throughout Europe, he 
has made himself acquainted with the whole field of Rembrandt's 
labours, and is perhaps better qualified to catalogue his works 
than any living writer. He was the first to direct attention to 
the works of Rembrandt's adolescence ; he has restored to him, 
as their true author, a series of unknown works, and his attribu- 
tions, though contested at first, arc now universally accepted. A 
notice he published in the Graphischcn Kuiistc was expanded into 
the remarkable article on Rembrandt in his Studies for a History of 
Art in Holland^ a striking analysis of the master's artistic career. 

^ Les Miisccs de HoUande, by W. Biirgcr. 3 vols. 121110. Paris, 185S-60. 
- Reinb7-andt ; his Life and JVorks, by Vosmaer. The first edition appeared in 
1868; the second, much enlarged and revised, in 1S77. 

^ Studicn zur Gcschichte dcr liolldndischcn Malcrci. Brunswick, 1SS5. i vol. Svo. 



xii AUTHOR'S INTRODUCTION 

A fresh impetus was simultaneously given to documentary research 
bv the inauguration of the periodical known as Oud-HoUand} under 
the editorship of the well-known scholars, Messrs. Bredius and De 
Roever. A fund of priceless information on matters connected with 
art history was discovered by the editors in Dutch archives, and 
most ably annotated. Thanks to their researches, the cruces of 
Rembrandt's biography have been explained, and the secrets of his 
mysterious existence brought to light. In grateful recognition of all 
I owe to their friendly help, I here tender my thanks to Messrs. 
Bredius and De Roever. If I have been enabled to supply the 
deficiencies of Vosmaer, and to trace more clearly than he has done 
the close union between Rembrandt's life and art, my success is due 
to them. To their zeal and to their discoveries I owe the information 
which must give a certain value to my book. 

While busied in the arrangement and collation of my materials, I 
have been careful to neglect no opportunity of study at first hand. 
Before starting on a pilgrimage through Europe to see such of the 
master's works as were unknown to me, and to re-examine such as 
were familiar, I made every effort to prepare myself for the problems 
to be encountered. Two successive visits to England, and expedi- 
tions to Russia, Sweden, Denmark, and North Germany enabled me 
to review all the museums I had already visited. Rembrandt's name 
is a talisman among his devotees, and the sort of freemasonry it 
establishes between them opened all doors to me. The directors of 
public galleries everywhere received me with the utmost cordiality. 
Their sympathy proved of great assistance to me in my work ; they 
imparted their own stores of information, opened their archives for my 
inspection, and frequently gained access for me to private collections, 
where they themselves were my guides. 

Their good offices have not ceased with my travels. Thanks to 
the friendly relations thus established, I gained correspondents in all 
quarters, with whom I could exchange ideas, who have been prompt to 
answer my questions, and even to forestall them by the liberal communi- 
cation of facts likely to be of interest to me. Among those to whose 
kindness or valuable help I am most deeply indebted are : Messrs. 
Eisenmann and Habich of Cassel ; Mr. Riegel of Brunswick ; Messrs. 
W. de Seidlitz, K. Woermann and C. Hofstede de Groot of Dresden ; 
Dr. R. Graul, Editor of the Gt'aphischcn Kilnstc of Vienna ; Dr. Bode 
and Dr. Lippmann of Berlin ; Mr. A. Somoff of St. Petersburg; 
Messrs. G. Upmark and G. Goethe of Stockholm ; Mr. Emil Bloch of 

* Amsterdam : Bingcr Brothers. The publication is now in its tenth year. 



AUTHOR'S INTRODUCTION xiii 

Copenhagen; Dr. Schlie of Schwerin ; :\Ir. Lichtwark of Hamburg; 
Mr. Obreen, of Amsterdam ; Messrs. P. Haverkorn van Rysewvk and 
Moes of Rotterdam ; Dr. J. Worp of Gronlngen, and Mr. Sc'holten, 
Director of the Teyler Museum at Haarlem. For the topography of 
places connected with Rembrandt, I had the best of all guides in Mr. 
Ch. Dozy of Leyden, and Mr. de Roever of Amsterdam. To their 
kindness I owe very substantial help. 

Desiring to turn such precious facilities to the best possible account, 
I lived for several years with Rembrandt, surrounded by reproductions 
of his pictures, drawings, and etchings, and by documents bearing on his 
history, my mind all the while intently fixed on the facts of his life, 
and the achievements of his genius. In my ceaseless efforts to grasp 
the logic of this synchronism of works and events, I learnt the realities 
of his career. The procession of dates and facts took on a new sio-. 
nificance ; I saw the heterogeneous threads of information weave 
themselves gradually into the fabric of a life — the life of Rembrandt, 
with its small events and large passions, its stormy aspirations, its 
glorious masterpieces, marking the successive epochs of troubled 
existence. 

None can feel more deeply than I the difficulties of such a task. 
But happily the master himself collaborates with me to make himself 
more widely known. It has been my good fortune to secure Rem- 
brandt's own services as illustrator of the volume wherein I propose to 
chronicle his history and analyse his genius. The great advance in 
photography and heliogravure of late years has. made it possible to 
offer the public such a transcript of Rembrandt's works as is contained 
in this volume. 

The drawings and etchings are reproduced by the firm of Krakow. 
A few of the most famous and important, the place of which in this 
work had been determined from its inception, are printed separately. 
Other examples have been chosen partly as characteristic specimens 
of the master, partly as lending themselves readily to successful 
reproduction. In referring to the etchings, we have followed Bartsch's 
classification, not only as that to which most authorities are revert- 
ing,^ but as offering an uniform method of notation for the works 
of Rembrandt and those of his pupils or imitators, whose plates 
Bartsch has also described and catalogued. - 

The difficulties of reproduction were, of course, infinitely greater 
with the pictures. Photography is not well adapted to the renderincr 

^ See a paragraph in 7iiy Preface. — F. W. 

2 The numerous etchings here reproduced are distinguished by a B. (signifying 
Bartsch), followed by the number of each in his catalogue. 



xiv AUTHOR'S INTRODUCTION 

of those brown and golden tones which predominate in Rembrandt's 
works. It was necessary to choose proofs combining clearness in the 
shadows with exactness in the suggestion of values. Some of the 
examples were borrowed from the collection of Messrs. Braun and Co- 
Mr. Hanfstaengl of Munich also allowed the free use of all his 
Rembrandt reproductions. I am indebted to Mr. Baer of Rotterdam 
for the fragment of the Pacification of Holland, the grisaille of the 
Boymans Museum, and to Mr, Hoffmann, Director of the Darmstadt 
Museum, for a photograph of the Flagellation in his gallery, which 
is now published for the first time. The courtesy of Lord Warwick, 
of Count Orloff Davidoff, and of Messrs. Ed. Andre, Haro, and 
R. Kann, has further enabled me to reproduce other pictures 
never before published. Finally M. Sedelmeyer, to whom I here 
make most grateful acknowledgment, furnished me with photographs 
of several among the numerous works of Rembrandt which have 
been in his possession from time to time. 

The plates engraved from these photographs were executed 
by M. Dujardin. Copies of some old engravings of public buildings 
in Leyden and Amsterdam, several picturesque views of the two 
towns, and facsimiles of signatures successively used by Rem- 
brandt, complete the list of illustrations in this volume, which the 
publishers have striven to make worthy of that great master to 
whom it is dedicated. 




THE SLEEPING CHILD. 

(Sir Frederick Leighton's Collection.) 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

LEYDEN AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY — THE BIRTH OF 
REMBRANDT — HIS FAMILY — HIS STUDIES AND AMUSEMENTS— THE UNIVERSITY OF 
LEYDEN— EDUCATION AND MANNERS OF THE PERIOD—WORKS OF ART IN THE 
TOWN-HALL — PRECOCITY OF REMBRANDT'S GENIUS — HIS MASTERS, J. VAN 
SWANENBURCH AT LEYDEN, AND P. EASTMAN AT AMSTERDAM — HIS RETURN 
TO LEYDEN 



I — 19 



CHAPTER II 

FIRST PICTURES PAINTED AT LEYDEN : ' ST. PAUL IN PRISON' AND 'THE MONEY- 
CHANGER' (1627), 'SAMSON AND DELILAH' (1628), AND 'THE PRESENTATION 
IN THE TEMPLE' — REMBRANDT'S PORTRAITS OF HIMSELF— HIS FIRST ETCHINGS 
— HIS METHODS 20— 28 



CHAPTER III 

REMBRANDT'S PAINTED AND ENGRAVED PORTRAITS OF HIS FATHER AND MOTHER 
—STUDIES MADE IN COMMON WITH HIS FELLOW-STUDENTS: 'LOT AND HIS 
DAUGHTERS,' 'THE BAPTISM OF THE EUNUCH,' 'ST. JEROME AT PRAYER' — 
REMBRANDT'S FIRST PURCHASES OF WORKS OF ART 29—43 



CHAPTER IV 

REMBRANDT'S PRECOCIOUS FAME— HUYGENS' ACCO'JNT THEREOF — THE PICTURE 
OF 'JUDAS'— ETCHINGS OF THIS PERIOD: THE 'BEGGARS,' ' SAINT ANAS- 
TASIUS,' 'THE PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE,' AND THE 'HOLY FAMILY' 
(1631) — REMBRANDT RESOLVES TO SETTLE AT AMSTERDAM — THE INFLUENCE 
OF HIS LIFE AT LEYDEN ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 44 — 58 



CHAPTER V 

AMSTERDAM TOWARDS THE YEAR 163I— HER GROWING TRADE AND PROS- 
PERITY—THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE CITY — THE SPIRIT OF TOLERANCE — 
CHARITIES— THE LITERARY MOVEMENT — THE ART AND TASTE OF THE DAY 
-DUTCH HO.ME-LIFE , 59—77 



xvi CONTENTS 



CHArXER VI 



REMBRANDT SETTLES AT AMSTERDAM— HIS FIRST PICTURES— HIS FEMALE 
MODELS— THE 'GOOD SAMARITAN' — THE 'RAPE OF PROSERPINE '—STUDIES OF 
OLD MEN— THE PORTRAITURE OF THE DUTCH SCHOOL— THOMAS DE KEVSER — 
PORTRAITS PAINTED BY REM13RANDT IN 1632 7S — 92 



CHAPTER VII 

THE IMPORTANCE OF CORPORATION PICTURES IN HOLLAND — THE 'ANATOMY 
THEATRES '—PICTURES OF ' ANATOMY-LESSONS ' IN ITALY AND HOLLAND— REM- 
BRANDT'S PREDECESSORS IN THIS GENRE : AERT PIETERSEN, MICHIEL MIEREVELT, 
NICOLAES ELIAS, AND THOMAS DE KEYSER— DR. TULP— REMBRANDT'S 'LESSON 
IN ANATOMY' (1632) 93— IO4 



CHAPTER VIII 

REMBRANDT'S GRO\VING SUCCESS AS A PORTRAIT-PAINTER — PORTRAITS PAINTED 
IN 1632 AND 1633 — 'the SHIP-BUILDER AND HIS WIFE' — 'MARTIN DAEY AND 
HIS wife' — COMPOSITIONS OF THIS PERIOD: 'ST. PETER'S BOAT IN THE STORM,' 
THE 'philosophers' — REMBRANDT'S RELATIONS WITH HUYGENS— THE SERIES 
OF PICTURES ON THE PASSION PAINTED FOR PRINCE FREDERICK HENRY. . . . I05 — 126 



CHAPTER IX 

SASKIA VAN UYLENEORCH AND HER FAMILY — REMBRANDT'S PORTRAITS OF HER — 
THE 'JEWISH BRIDE'— REMBRANDT MARRIES SASKIA (JUNE 22, 1634) —STUDIES 
AND PICTURES PAINTED FROM HER: THE 'ARTEMISIA' IN THE PRADO, THE 
'BURGOMASTER PANCRAS AND HIS WIFE,' THE 'REMBRANDT AND SASKIA ' IN 
THE DRESDEN GALLERY — HIS INDUSTRY 1 27 — I.]l 



CHAPTER X 

REMBRANDT'S ETCHINGS OF THIS PERIOD (1632-1639)— HIS DIVERSITY OF METHOD — 
STUDIES OF HIMSELF AND FAMILIAR SUBJECTS — PORTRAIT OF J. UYTENBOGAERD 
—RELIGIOUS COMPOSITIONS— REMBRANDT'S COLLABORATORS — THE 'RESURREC- 
TION OF LAZARUS,' THE 'DESCENT FROM THE CROSS,' AND THE ' ECCE HOMO '— 
THE THREE 'ORIENTAL HEADS'— THE 'ABRAHAM'S SACRIFICE' IN THE HERMITAGE. 142— 160 



CHAPTER XI 

DOMESTIC LIFE— SKETCHES AND ETCHINGS M.ADE BY REMBRANDT FROM SASKIA 
\ND HIMSELF— PORTRAITS AND PICTURES FROM 1635 TO 1640—' GANYMEDE,' AND 
REMBRANDT'S MYTHOLOGICAL COMPOSITIONS— THE 'DANAE' IN THE HERMITAGE 
—'SUSANNA AT THE B.ATH ' AND THE ' MARRIAGE OF SAMSON '—STUDIES OF STILL 
LIFE— THE BOOK OF TOEIT— ETCHINGS OF THIS PERIOD— THE 'DEATH OF THE 
VIRGIN' 161-184 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER XII 

REMBRANDT'S GROWING FAME— HIS INFLUENCE ON HIS CONTEMPORARIES— HIS 
FIRST PUPILS AT AMSTERDAM : FERDINAND BOL, GOVERT FLINCK, GERBRANDT 
VAN DEN EECKHOUT, JAN VICTORS, PHILIPS DE KONINCK, ETC.— HIS REPUTED 
AVARICE — HIS TASTES AS A COLLECTOR— PURCHASE OF A HOUSE IN THE 
BREESTRAAT— REMBRANDT'S FRIENDS AND DOMESTIC HABITS— ETCHINGS OF 
SASKIA— THE DEATH OF REMBRANDT'S MOTHER iS: 



'V 



CHAPTER Xni 

THE CARPENTER'S HOUSEHOLD' (1640) — 'THE MEETING OF ST. ELIZABETH 
AND THE VIRGIN' — ' MANOAH'S PRAYER ' (1641) — PORTRAITS OF THIS PERIOD: 
THE 'LADV WITH THE FAN' AND ' RENIER ANSLO ' — ETCHINGS FROM 1640 TO 
1642 — PICTURES OF THE MILITARY GUILDS IN HOLLAND — 'THE SORTIE OF 
FRANS BANNING COCQ'S COMPANY,' COMMONLY CALLED 'THE NIGHT WATCH' 
(1642) ..... 



CHAPTER XIV 

SASKIA'S LAST ILLNESS — HER WILL — HER DEATH— THE EFFECT PRODUCED BY 
'THE NIGHT WATCH '—PICTURES OF THIS PERIOD: 'HOLY FAMILIES' — ' BATH- 
SHEBA' — 'the WO.MAN taken in adultery' — 'portrait of ELIZABETH BAS ' 
— ETCHINGS FROM 1643 TO 1645— LANDSCAPE STUDIES— THE 'THREE TREES' . . 224—245 

CHAPTER XV 

PERIOD OF GREAT ACTIVITY, FROM 1646 TO 1654— LIFE-STUDIES— ' SUSANNA AND 
THE ELDERS' ( 1647)— REMBRANDT'S TECHNIQUE— ' THE GOOD SAMARITAN' AND 
'THE DISCIPLES AT EMMAUS ' (1648)—' PORTRAIT OF TURENNE ' (1649)— ' THE 
VISION OF DANIEL' ; ' ABRAHAM AND THE ANGELS ' ; 'NOLI METANGERE' (1651)— 
ETCHINGS OF THIS PERIOD : THE ' HUNDRED GUILDER PRINT' AND 'THE LITTLE 
TOMB' 246—270 



CHAPTER XVI 

PORTRAITS OF REMBRANDT'S RELATIVES AND FRIENDS : JAN SYLVIUS, EPHRAIM 
BONUS, JAN SIX, COPPENOL, CLEMENT DE JONGHE— REMBRANDT'S INTIMATES 
AMONG THE LANDSCAPE-PAINTERS : CLAES BERCHEM, JAN ASSELVN, R. ROGHMAN, 
H. SEGHERS, JAN VAN DE CAPPELLE— STUDIES FROM N.VTURE— THE ' RUIN ' AND 
THE ' WINDMILL' — STUDIES OF ANIMALS — RE.MBRANDT'S PUPILS AT THIS PERIOD — 
HIS METHOD OF TEACHING 27 1 — 297 



CHAPTER X\'I1 

REMBRANDT'S HOME— TITUS AND HIS NURSE — III. NDKICKJK STOI'FELS— PICTURES 
PAINTED FROM HER— THE PORTRAIT IN THE SALON CARRE AND THE ' BATHSHEBA' 
OF THE LACAZE COLLECTION— STUDIES FROM NATURE— THE ' GIRL WITH A BROOM,' 
AND THE PORTRAITS OF OLD MEN IN THE HERMITAGE AND THE DRESDEN 
GALLERY — 'JOSEPH ACCUSED BY THE WIFE OF POTIPHAR '—ETCHINGS FROM 1654 
TO 1655— REMBRANDT'S HOUSE AND HIS COLLECTIONS 29S— 317 



xviii CONTENTS 



CHAPTER XVIII 

PAGE 

REMBRANDT'S EXTRAVAGANXE AND WANT OF FORETHOUGHT— THE 'MATHE- 
MATICIAN' IN THE CASSEL GALLERY— ' DR. DEYMAN'S LESSON IN ANATOMY'— 
'JACOB BLESSING THE CHILDREN OF JOSEPH '—THE GRISAILLE OF 'THE 
PREACHING OF ST. JOHN '—ETCHED PORTRAITS: J. LUTMA, AND 'OLD HAARING ' 
—REMBRANDT A BANKRUPT— THE SALE OF HIS HOUSE AND COLLECTIONS . . . 3 1 S— 339 



CHAPTER XIX 

REMBRANDT'S DIFFICULTIES ^V1TH HIS CREDITORS— HIS LONELY LIFE— THE 
'CHRIST' IN COUNT ORLOFF-DAVIDOFF'S COLLECTION— ' DAVID AND SAUL ' - 
PORTRAITS OF THIS PERIOD (1658-1660) — THE BURGOMASTER SIX, 

COPPENOL — ETCHINGS OF HENDRICKJE — PORTRAITS OF TITUS AND OF 
REMBRANDT HIMSELF— THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN TITUS AND HENDRICKJE . 34°— 358 



CHAPTER XX 

REMBRANDT'S RETIRED AND LABORIOUS LIFE— ' SAINT MATTHEW AND THE 
ANGEL' (1661)— 'VENUS AND CUPID'— 'THE CONSPIR.\CY OF CLAUDIUS CIVILIS'— 
PICTURES OF THE CIVIC GUILDS IN HOLLAND— THE ' SYNDICS OF THE CLOTH 
HALL' — THE UNITY OF THE LITTLE FAMILY— STUDIES AND PORTRAITS OF THIS 
PERIOD 359—377 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE DEATH OF HENDRICKJE — THE PROBABLE FAILURE OF REMBRANDT'S HEALTH 
AND SIGHT^THE ' LUCRETIA ' AND THE 'JEWISH BRIDE' — AERT DE GELDER AND 
HIS WORKS — THE ' LE PECQ REMBRANDT' — PORTRAIT OF JEREMIAS DE DECKER — 
THE 'FAMILY GROUP' IN THE BRUNSWICK GALLERY — THE 'FLAGELLATION' AT 
DARMSTADT— THE 'RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON' — REMBRANDT'S LAST . 
PORTRAITS — THE TRIALS OF HIS CLOSING YEARS — HIS DEATH 37S— 399 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE MAN AND HIS WORK — HIS DESULTORY LIFE, AND THE CONSTANT DISCIPLINE 
TO WHICH HIS POWERS WERE SUBJECTED— HIS DRAWINGS— HIS ETCHINGS — HIS 
PICTURES— THE CHARACTER AND ORIGINALITY OF HIS GENIUS 400— 423 



CATALOGUE OF REMBRAXDT'S WORKS. 

I. Pictures 427 

II. Drawings 444 

III. Etchings 465 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 479 

INDEX OF PROPER NAMES 481 



FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS 



PACE 



Portrait of Remrrandt. 1632. (Louvre.) Phot. Braun Frontispiece 

Study of an Old Man. About 1630. Red chalk. (Louvre.) 8 

Portrait of Rembrandt. About 1629—1630. (Hague Museum.) Phot. Hanfstacngl. 26 
Study for the "Old ISLan Studying." (B. 149.) Red chalk and wash. 

About 1629 — 1630. (Louvre.) 32 

Study FOR THE " Saint Jerome." 1631. Red and black chalk. (Lou\re.j 40 

"Saixt Jerome" Facsimile of Joris yax \'liet's Engraving, 1631, after the 

Picture by Rembrandt 42 

The Presentation in the Temple. 1631. (Hague Museum.) Phot. Hansftaengl . 52 

The Anatomy Lesson. 1632. (Hague Museum.) Phot. Haenfstengl • 102 

The Shipbuilder and his Wife. 1633. (Buckingham Palace.) Phot. Braun ... no 
Nathan admonishing David. Pen and wash. (Seymour-Haden Collection.) . . .112 

Man Preparing for Bed. Pen and sepia. (Stockholm Print Room.) ■ 114 

Study for the "Philosopher" in the Louvre. 1633. Red chalk. (Berlin Print 

Room.) 116 

A Philosopher absorbed in Meditation. 1632. (Louvre.) Phot. Braun .... 118 

The Geographer. Pen and wash. (Albertina) 124 

The Jewish Bride. About 1632. (Liechenstein Ga'.lery.) 12S 

Portrait of Saskia. About 1636 — 1637. (Mr. Samuel Joseph's CoUeciion.) .... 134 

Portrait of Saskia. 1633. Lead pencil. (Berlin Print Room.) 136 

Rembrandt and Saskia. About 1635. (Dresden Gallery.) Phot. Braun 140 

Portrait OF a Man. Red and black chalk. (Late Holford Collection.) 146 

Abraham's Sacrifice. 1635. (Hermitage.) Phot. Braun 15S 

Portrait of Rembrandt. 1634. (Berlin Museum.) 160 

Supposed Portr.\it of Sobieski. 1637. (Hermitage.) Phot. Braun 162 

Study for the "Jewish Bride." 1634. Pen and wash. (Albertina.) Phot Braun . 164 

Sketch of the "Ganymede," by an Imiiaior ok Rembrandt. (Dresden Museum.) 166 

Danai:. 1636. (Hermitage.) Phot. Braun l68 

Samson's Marriage Feast. 1638. (Dresden (Gallery.) Phot. Hiaun 170 

The Bittern. 1639. (Dresden Gallery.) Phot. Braun 172 

The Angel leaving Tobias and his Family. Pen and wash. (.Albc-rtina.) . ... 174 

The Angel Raphael leaving Top.ias. 1637. (Louvre.) Phot. Braun 176 

Tobias taking the Gall of the Fish. Pen and sepia. (Albertina.) 17S 



XX LIST OF FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGE 



Tobias Restorixg his Father's Sight.— Study for the Picture in the Arenberg 

Gallery. 1636. Pen and wash. (Louvre.) 180 

TODIAS AND THE Angel. About 1636. (Mr. M. H. Spielmann's Collection.) 182 

Study of a Woman, Seated. Pen drawing, heightened with sepia. (Bibliotheque 

Nationale.) 190 

Rembrandt's Studio. Pen and wash. (Louvre.) 194 

The Carpenter's Household. 1640. (Louvre.) Phot. Praun 204 

Fragment of " ^L•\NOAH's Prayer." 1641. (Dresden Gallery.) Phot. Braun . . . 206 

Lady with a Fan. 1641. (Buckingham Palace.) Phot. Braun 208 

Study for the Etched Portrait of Renier Anslo. 1640. Red and black chalk. 

(British Museum.) 210 

Study of an Elephant. Black chalk. (British Museum.) 212 

A Man Watching a Woman with a Sleeping Child in her Arms. Pen and 

wash. (Heseitine Collection.) 214 

Lot and his Fa.mily. Pen and wash. (Bibliotheque Nationale.) 216 

The ^L\RCH out of the Civic Guard, commonly called "The Night Watch." 

i6;2. (Amsterdam Ryksmuseum.) 218 

Christ Healing the Blind ^L-vn. Pen and wash. (Rotterdam Museum.) Phot. 

Baer 228 

Portrait of Elizabeth Bas. About 1643. (.Amsterdam Ryksmuseum.) Phot. 

Hanfstaengl 234 

Study for the Etched "Life-Study of a Young ]\Lan." 1646. Pen and wash. 

(Bibliotheque Nationale.) 24S 

Study for the "Good Sam.a.ritan." Pen and wash. (Rotterdam Museum.) 

Phot. Baer 252 

The Supper at Emm.a.us. 1648. (Louvre.) Phot. Braun 254 

Fragment from "The Pacification of Holland." 1648. (Rotterdam Museum.) 

Phot. Baer 256 

Abraham Entertaining the Angels. About 1650. (Hermitage.) Phot. Braun . . 260 

After the Reading. About 1649. (^L J. Porges' Collection.) 262 

Christ Preaching. Facsimile of the etching known as T/w Little Tomb. About 

1652. (B. 67.) 268 

View of Amsterd.a.m. Pen and sepia. (Albertina.) Phot. Braun 2S2 

Interior of a Church. Pen and wash. (Albertina) 2S6 

■Cottage Surrounded by Trees. Pen and wash. (Heseitine Collection.) 288 

Study of a Couchant Lion. Pen and wash. (Lord Brownlow's Collection.) .... 290 

Landscape Study. Pen and wash. (British Museum.) 292 

The Storm. Pen and wash. (Albertina.) 294 

Portrait of Titus van Ryn. 1655. (.\L R. Kann's Collection.) 298 

Portrait of Hendrickje Stoffels. About 1652. (Louvre.) Phot. Braun .... 302 

B.A.THSHEBA. 1 654. (Louvre.) Phot. Braun 304 

Woman B.-VTHING. 1654. (National Gallery.) Phot. I5raun 308 

xGirl with a Broom. About 1654. (Hermitage.) Phot. Braun 310 



LIST OF FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS xxi 



I'ACE 



Portrait of an Old Woman. 165^. (Hermitage.) Phot. Braun 312 

A Man Reading. Pen and sepia. (Louvre.) 314 

Portrait OF Hendrickje Stoffels. About 1658-1660. (Scottish National Gallery.) 315 

A Man in Armour. 1655. (Glasgow Corporation Gallery.) 316 

The Mathematician. About 1656. (Cassel Museum.) Phot. Hanfstaengl 324 

Pilate Washing his Hands. About 1656. (M. R. Kann.) 330 

Portrait of Rembrandt. 1658. (Lord Ilchester's Collection.) 342 

The Large Coppenol. About 1658. Facsimile of the Etching. (B. 283.) 354 

Portrait of Rembrandt. 1660. (Louvre.) 356 

St. Matthew and the Angel. 1661. (Louvre.) Phot. Braun 362 

The Syndics of the Cloth Hall. 1661. (.Amsterdam Ryksmuseum.) Phot. 

Hanfstaengl 370 

A Pilgrim Praying. 1641. (Weber Collection, Hamburg.) 374 

Portrait of a Woman, Seated. Pen and sepia. (Heseltine Collection.) 404 

The Woman at the Window. Pen and wash. (Heseltine Collection.) ■ 40S 

An Old Man Seated in an Armchair. Pen and sepia. (British Museum.) . . . 414 



ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE TEXT 



PAGH 



View of a Town. Pen drawing heightened with wash. (Berlin Print Room.) .... v 

Portrait — supposed to be either Titus or the Prince of Oraxge. 1641. (B. 310.) . v 

A Village, with a Canal and a Vessel under Sail. About 1645. (B. 22S.) . . ix 

Rembrandt in a Flat Cap. 1638. (B. 26.) ix 

Sleeping Child. (Sir Frederick Leighton.) xvi 

Pen Drawing. (Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) .... i 

Rembrandt's Mother. 1628. (B. 354.) i 

Municipal Orphanage and Church of St. Pancras at Levden. (Drawing by 

Boudier, after a photograph.) 4 

Leyden University, from Rapenrurg. (Drawing by Boudier, after a photograph.) . 5 
Botanical Gardens of Levden University. (.After an Engraving by \V. Swancn- 

burch.) 7 

Gate of the Doelen of St. George at Levden. 1614. (Drawing by Boudier, after 

a photograph.) 8 

Town Hall of Leyden. (Drawing by Baudicr, after a photograph.) 9 

Old Woman Asleep. About 1635. (^5- 35°-) ^- 

The Raising of L.\zarus. About 1633. (B. 73.) 13 

Rembrandt's F.\ther. 1630. (B. 304.) 16 

Rembr.a.ndt's Mother. About 1631. (B. 343.) 17 

Rembrandt's Father. 1630. (B. 294.) 19 

A Peasant Carrying Milkpails. .About 1650. (B. 213.) 20 

Rembrandt, full-face, Laughing. 1630. (13. 316.) 20 

Portrait of Rembrandt. (Cassel Museum.) 24 

The Money-Changer. (Fragment of the picture in the Berlin Museum/ 25 

Rembrandt wrrn his Mouth Open. 1630. (B. 13.) 27 

Re.mbr.\ndt with Haggard Eyes. 1630. (B. 320.) 28 

Landscape wuh a Flock of Sheep. 1650. (B. 22;.) . 29 

Rembrandt's Mother. 1628. (B. 352.) 29 

Rembrandt's Father. (By Gerard Dou, Cassel Museum.) 31 

Rembrandt's Father. (Mr. Chamberlain of Brighton.) 32 

Rembrandt's Mother. (Dr. Bredius.) 33 

Lot and his Daughters. (Engraved by \'an \'Iict in 1631. after a picture by 

Rembrandt.) 3^ 

Rembrandt's Father. (Habich Collection, Cassel.) 37 

Rembrandt's Father. 1630. (B. 229.) 40 



xxiv LIST OF TEXT ILLUSTRATIONS 

I'AGH 

Baptism of the Eunuch. (Engraved by \"an Vliet in 1631, after a picture by 

Rembrandt.) 41 

Old Man with a long Beard. 1631. (B. 260.) 43 

Pen Drawing, heightened with wash. (Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 44 

A Beggar, standing. About 163 1. (B. 169.) 44 

Rembrandt's Mother in an Eastern Head-dress. 1631. (B. 348.) 48 

Rembrandt's F.^ther. 1631. (B. 263.) 49 

The Little Circumcision. About 1630. (B. 48.) 52 

Holy Family. 1631. (Munich Pinacothek.) 53 

Study in Black Chalk. (King of Saxony's Collection.) 57 

Rembrandt with Frizzled Hair. About 1631. (B. 8.) 58 

View of Amsterdam. About 1640. (B. 210.) 59 

Small Grotesque Head. About 1632. (B. 327.) 59 

The Montalban Tower. Pen Drawing. (Heseltine Collection.) 60 

View OF the Zuvderkerk. (Facsimile of a contemporary print.) 61 

View of the Westerkerk. (Drawing by Boudier, after a photograph.) 63 

Ephraim Bonus. 1647. (B. 278.) 64 

Menasseh ben Israel. 1636. (B. 269.) 65 

The Raising of Jairus's Daughter. Pen Drawing. (Seymour-Haden Collection.) . 68 

Study of an Old Man. (King of Saxony's Collection.) 69 

The PRESENT.A.TION in the Temple. Pen and wash. (Heseltine Collection.) .... 72 

Joseph Consoling the Prisoners. (British Museum.) 73 

An Old Man Praying. (Subject unknown. Pen Drawing. Bonnat Collection.) ... it 

Old Man with a Pointed Beard. 1631. (B. 315.) -]■] 

Pen Dr.-vwing. (Heseltine Collection.) 78 

Small Figure of a Polander. 1631. (B. 142.) 78 

Diana Bathing. About 163 i. (B. 201.) 80 

The Good Samaritan. 1633. (B. 90.) 81 

Study of an Old Man. 1632. (Cassel Museum.) 85 

Portrait of Coppenol. About 1632. (Cassel Museum.) 89 

Portrait of Joris de Caulery. 1632 91 

Rembrandt's Mother. About 1632. (B. 344.) 92 

Pen Drawing, washed with sepia (Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 93 

Old Man with a Bald Head. About 1632. (B. 296.) 93 

The Theatre of Anatomy at Leyden. (Facsimile of Swancnburch's engraving.) 

1610 07 

View of the G.ate of St. Anthony, Amsterdam. (Drawing by Boudier, after a 

photograph.) ,00 

Old Man with a Short Beard. About 1631. (B. .300.) 104 

Pen Drawing, heightened with wash. (Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 105 

Figure of a Polander. About 1633. (B. 140.) 105 

Portrait of a ]\L\n. 1632. (Brunswick Museum.) . loS 

Portrait of a Woman. 1633. (Brunswick Museum.) 109 

Portrait of J. H. Krul. 1633. (Cassel Museum.) 113 

Portrait of an Old Lady. 1634. (National Gallery.) 117 

Frxgment from The Descent from the Cross. 1633. (Munich Pinacothek.) . . 120 

Descent from the Cross. 1633. (B. Si.) 121 

Fo.^TRAiT of Rembrandt. 1633. (B. 17.) 125 

Re.mbrandt's Mother. 1633. (B. 351.) 126 

Pen Dr.'VWIng, heightened with sepia. (Heseltine Collection.) 127 



LIST OF TEXT ILLUSTRATIONS 



PACF 



Remliraxdt with Moustachios. About 1634. (B. 2 ) 127 

Portrait of Saskia. 1632. {M. Haro.) 128 

Portrait of Saskia. 1632. (Stockholm Museum.) 129 

Portrait of Saskia. 1632. (Liechtenstein Collection.) 132 

Portrait of Saskia. About 1634. . (Cassel Museum.) 1-3 

Portrait of Saskia. 1634. (B. 347.) 136 

The Jewish Bride. 1634. (Hermitage.) 137 

The Burgomaster Pancras and his Wife. About 1635. (Buckingham Palace.) . 140 

The Crucifixion. About 1634. (B. So.) i^i 

Pen Drawing, heightened with wash. (Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 142 

Two Travelling Peasants. About 1634. (B. 144.) i_^2 

Bust of Rembrandt, in an Oval. 1634. I'B. 23.) j_^- 

PORTRAIT of UYTENBOGAERD. 1 63 5. (B. 279.) I^g 

The Angel appearing to the Shepherds. 1634. (B. 44.) 152 

EccE Homo. 1636. (B. 77.) 153 

Bust Portrait of a Young Man, by Lievens. (B. 26.) 156 

Man in a Mezetin Cap. About 1635. (^- ~^9-) 157 

A Ragged Peasant. About 1635. (B. 172.) ](3o 

Pen Drawing, washed with ink. (Berlin Print Room.) i5i 

Drawing, washed with Indian ink. (British Museum.) i5i 

Pen Sketch. (Stockholm Print Room.) ]5_l^ 

Study of Saskia, and other Heads. 1636. (B. 365.) jg- 

Sketch for the Jewish Bride. 1634. (Stockholm Print Room.) 160 

Portrait of Rembrandt. About 1634. (Hague Museum.) 172 

Portrait of a Young Girl. About 1635. (Cassel Museum.) j-3 

Samson Threatening his Father-in-Law. About 1635. (Berlin Museum.) .... 176 

Fragment of the "Susanna" in the Hague .Museum. 1637 177 

A Young Man Musing. 1637, (B. 268.) iSo 

The De.ath of the Virgin. 1639. (^- 99-) ' iSi 

The Grandmother. Pen Drawing. (Stockholm Print Room.) 184 

Pen Drawing, heightened with sepia. (Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 1S5 

Bust of a Man with Curling Hair, and his Under Lip thrust out. About 

• 1635. (B. 305.) ,85 

Joseph telling his Dreams. 1638. (B. 37.) ,89 

Rembrandt's House in the Breestraat. (In its present state.) 193 

View of the Binnen Amstel. (Facsimile of a Contemporary Engraving.) 197 

Portrait of Titia van Uvlenborch. Pen and wash. 1639. (Stockholm I'rint 

Room.) 200 

Two Wo.MEN IN Beds, and other Sketches. About 1640. (B. 369.) 201 

A Beggar, standing. About 1639. (B. 163.) 202 

Landscape, with a Mill-sail above a Cottage. 1641. (B. 226.) 203 

A Woman with a Basket. About 1642. (B. 356.) 203 

Study for " Manoah's Prayer." 1641. Pen and wash. (Stockholm Print Room.) . 204 

Study for "Manoah's Prayer." Pen Drawing. (Berlin Print Roonv^ 205 

Portrait of a ^L\n. 1641. (Brussels .Museum.) 20S 

Renier Anslo. 1641. (B. 271.) 209 

Copy of Re.mbrandt's "Night Watch," by G. Lunden.s. (National Gallcrv.) . . 221 

Woman in a Large Hood. About 1642. (B. 359.) 223 

A Large Landscape, with a Cottage and a Dutch Hay-barn. 1641. (B. 225.) 224 

Portrait of Rembrandt with a Fur Cap and Light Dress. 1630. (,B. 24.) . . 224 



LIST OF TEXT ILLUSTRATIONS 



FAGB 



Thk Widower. Pen Drawing. (Heseltinc Collection.) 228 

The Angel appearing to St. Joseph. Pen Drawing. (Berlin Print Room.) .... 229 

The Hog. 1643. (E. 157.) 232 

Study from Nature (Pigs). Pen Drawing. (M. Leon Bonnat.) 233 

Abraham with his Son Isaac. 1645. (B. 34.) 236 

Six's Bridge. 1645. (B. 208.) 237 

The Grotto. 1645. (B. 231.) 240 

The Three Trees. 1643. (B. 212.) 241 

A Winter Scene. 1646. (Cassel :\Iuseum.) 243 

A View of Omv^al. 1645. (^- ~°9-) 244 

Rembrandt's Mill. 1641. (B. 233.) . . 245 

Drawing, washed with Indian Ink. (British .Museum.) 246 

An Old Man, without a Beard. About 1635. (B. 299.) 246 

An Academical Figure of a Man. 1646. (B. 193.) 248 

Susanna and the Elders. 1647. (Berlin Museum.) 249 

The Good Samaritan. Pen Drawing. (Berlin Print Room.) 252 

Rembrandt Drawing. 1648. (B. 22.) 253 

Noli me Tangere. 1651. (Brunswick Museum.) 256 

Study for the "Noli me Tangere" in the Brunswick Museu.m . '. . . . . . 257 

The Spanish Gipsy. 1647. (B. 120.) 260 

Head of Christ. About 1652. (M. Rodolphe Kann.) 261 

Sketch FOR "Daniel's Vision." Pen Drawing, with wash. (M. Leon Bonnat.) . . . 264 

Dr. Faustus. About 165 1. (B. 270.) 265 

Beggars at the Door of a House. 1648. (B. 176.) 26S 

Study for the Hundred Guilder Piece. Pen Drawing. (Berlin Print Room.) . . 269 

Jesus Disputing with the Doctors. 1652. (B. 65.) 270 

Landscape with a Ruined Tower. About 1648. (B. 223.) 271 

The Draughtsman. ■ Pen Drawing. (British Museum.) 271 

Study for the Portrait of J. C. Sylvius. Pen Drawing. (British Museum.) . . 272 

Portrait of Jan Cornelisz Sylvius. 1646. (B. 2S0.) 273 

Portrait of Clement de Jonghe. 165 i. (B. 272.) First state 276 

Portrait of Clement de Jonghe. 1651. (B. 272.) Third state 277 

Portrait of J. Antonides van der Linden. About 1653. (B. 264.) 2S0 

A L.A.NDSCAPE. Pen Drawing, heightened with sepia. (Heseltine Collection.) 28 1 

Portrait of Jan Asselyn. 1648. (B. 277.) 284 

Ruins of the Amsterdam Town Hall. 1652. Pen Drawing, heightened with wash. 

(Heseltine Collection.) 2S5 

Tobit Blind. 1651. (B. 42.) 288 

Village with a Square Tower. 1650. (B. 21 8.) 289 

A Road through a Wood. Pen Drawing. (Duke of Devonshire.) 292 

Landscape with an Obelisk. About 1650. (B. 227.) 293 

A Woman in Bed Asleep. Pen Drawing. (Heseltine Collection.) 295 

Study of a I^ear. Pen Drawing, heightened with wash. (Lord Brownlow.) 297 

The Goldweigher's Field. 165 i. (B. 234.) 29S 

Old Man with a Large Beard. About 1631. (B. 312.) 298 

Portrait of Titus. About 1652. (B. 11.) 300 

Titus' Nurse. Pen Drawing, heightened with wash. (Teyler Museum.) 301 

Rk.mbrandt's Head and other Sketches. 163 i, and 1650 (.?) (B. 370.) 304 

Christ with the Disciples at Emm.aus. 1654. (B. 87.) 305 

Christ in the Garden of Olives. About 1657. (B. 75.) 30S 



LIST OF TEXT ILLUSTRATIONS xxvii 

PACK 

Study of a Youth. (Titus ?) Pen Drawing. (Stockholm Print Room.) 309 

The Young Servant. About 1654. (Stockholm Museum.'' .- 3^- 

The Sport of Golf. 1654. (B. 125.) 3^3 

Tobit and his Wife. Pen Drawing. (Stockhohii Print Room.) 3' 7 

The Canal. About 1652. (B. 221.) 31S 

Bust of a Woman. About 1631. (B. 358.) 3iS 

Pen Sketch. (Boymans Museum, Rotterdam.) 3-° 

Pilate Declares THE Innocence OF Jlsus, (Stockhohn Print Room.) 321 

Portrait of Dr. Arnold Tholinx. 1656. (M. Edouard Andre.) 3^4 

Portrait of Dr. Arnold Tholinx. About 1655. (B. 2S4.) 325 

Dr. J. Dey.man's Lesson in Anatomy. 1656. (Ryksmuseum, Amsterdam.) .... 32S 

The Descent from the Cross; A Night-piece. 1654. (B. S3.) 329 

Portrait of Jan Lutma. 1656. (B. 276.) 33^ 

Supposed Portrait of Frans Bruyningh. 1658. (Cassel Museum.) 333 

The " Imperial Cro\vn " at Aisisterdam. Facsimile of a Drawing of 1725 336 

L.\NDSCAPE Study. Pen Drawing. (British Museum.) 337 

Entrance to a Town. Pen Drawing. (Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 339 

Pen Drawing of a Landscape. (Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 34c 

Pen Sketch, with wash. (British Museum.) 34° 

St. Peter Delivered from Prison. Pen Drawing, heightened with wash. (Albcrlina.) 34.4 

St. Jerome. About 1652. (B. 104.) 345 

Rembrandt in his Working Dress. Pen Drawing. (Heseltine Collection.) .... 34S 

Figure of Christ. About 1658-1660. (Count Orloff-Davidoff.) . 349 

David on his Knees. 1652. (B. 41.) 350 

An Old Woman Cutting Her Nails. 165S. (M. R. Kann.) 351 

Christ and the Samarit.\n Woman. Pen Drawing, heightened with wash. (Stock- 
holm Print Room.) 352 

Christ and the Samaritan Wo.man. 1658. (B. 70.) . . . . ■ 353 

Young Woman Asleep. Pen Drawing. (Heseltine Collection.) 354 

Pen Sketch, heightened with sepia. (Seymour-Haden Collection.) 355 

The Holy Women on Calvary. Pen Drawing. (Stockholm Print Room.) 3 58 

Pen Drawing of a Landscape. (Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 359 

Small Head of Rembrandt, Stooping. About 1630. (B. 5.) 359 

Young Woman at a Window. About 1665. (Berlin Museum.) 360 

The Faithful Servant. Pen Drawing. (Bonnat Collection.) 361 

The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis. 1661. (Stockholm Museum.) 364 

The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis. (Study for the original work. Facsimile of 

a Drawing in the Munich Print Room.) 365 

Woman at a Window. Pen Drawing, washed with sei)ia. (Heseltine Collection.) . . . 36S 
The Prinsengracht and the Westerkerk. (Near Rembrandt's home on the 

Rozengracht.) Drawing by Boudier, from a photograph 369 

Jacob's Blessing. Pen Drawing. (Stockholm Print Room.^i 372 

Eliiah in the Desert. Pen Drawing. (Berlin Print Koom.i 375 

Pen Sketch of a Landscape. (Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 377 

Sketch of a Landscape, heightened with sepia. (Duke of Devonshire's CuUcclicn.) . 378 

AN Old Woman in a BL^iCK Veil. 1631. (B. 355.) 378 

Pen Sketch, heightened with sepia. (Lord Warwick's Collection.) 3S0 

The Jewish J^ride. (Boaz and Ruth?) About 1665. (Ryksmuseum, Amsterdam.' . 3S1 

Lauan and Li:aii. Pen Drawing. (Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 382 



LIST OF TEXT ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGE 



The Nativitv. About 1652. (B. 45.) 3S2 

Pen' Dr.vwixo, heightened with sepia. (Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 383 

Pen Dr.-\wixg, washed with sepia. (Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 383 

Pen Sketch, with sepia. (Lord Warwick's Collection.) 384 

The St.\ndard Bearer. About 1662-1664. (Lord Warwick's Collection.) 385 

Scriptural Subject. Pen Sketch, with sepia. (Lord Warwick's Collection.) .... 388 

Family Group. About 1668-1669. (Brunswick Museum.) 389 

Interior of the Westerkerk. (Facsimile of a contemporary Print.) 392 

The Flagell.\tion. 1668. (Darmstadt Museum.) 393 

Jesus Christ in the Midst of His Disciples. 1650. (B. 89.) 396 

The Cottage with White Palings. 1642. (B. 232.) 397 

Sepia Dr.\wing. (Heseltine Collection.) 399 

Pen Dr.vwing, after Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper." (Berlin Print Room.) . 400 

Rembrandt with Frizzled Hair. About 1631. (B. 336.) 400 

Young Woman Asleep .\t a Window. Pen Drawing, heightened with sepia. (Hesel- 
tine Collection.) 401 

Job and his Friends. Pen Study, with bistre. (Stockholm Print Room.) 402 

Young Wo.man Reading. Pen Drawing. (Berlin Print Room.) 403 

Study from Raphael's Baldassare Castigliono. Pen and sepia. (Albertina.Vienna.) 404 

Pen Drawing. (Seymour-Haden Collection.) 405 

Pen Sketch of a Landscape. (Heseltine Collection.) 40S 

The Geographer. Pen Drawing, heightened with sepia. (Dresden Print Room.) . . . 409 

Re.mbrandt Leaning on a Stone Sill. 1639. (B. 21.) 412 

Study of a Head. (Rembrandt's Brother ?) 1650. (Hague Museum.) 413 

Pen Sketches of a Beggar. (British Museum.) 414 

Pen Drawing. (Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 415 

Christ in the G.'^.rden of Olives. Pen drawing. (Kunsthalle, Hamburg.) 416 

The Blind Fiddler. 1631. (B. 138.) 417 

Isaac Blessing Jacob. (Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 418 

The Storm. About 1640. (Brunswick Museum.) 419 

Jacob Blessing the Children of Joseph. 1656. (Cassel Museum.) 420 

A Beggar Woman Asking Alms. 1646. (B. 170.) 421 

A Jews'- Synagogue. 1648. (B. 126.) 422 

Life-Study of a Young Man. 1646. (B. 196.) 423 

Bust of an Old Man with a Long Beard. About 1630. (B. 291.) 427 

The Return of the Prodigal. Pen Sketch. (Louvre.) 477 

The Shell. 1650. (B. 159.) 480 

Jesus Disputing with the Doctors. 1652. (B. 65.) 484 











fEN DKAWING. 

(Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 



CHAPTER I 



LEYDEN AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY — THE BIRTH OF 
REMBRANDT — HIS FAMILY — HIS STUDIES AND AMUSEMENTS — THE UNIVERSITY OF 
LEYDEN — EDUCATION AND MANNERS OF THE PERIOD — WORKS OF ART IN THE 
TOWN-HALL — PRECOCITY OF REMBRANDT'S GENIUS — HIS MASTERS, J. VAN SWANEN- 
BURCH AT LEYDEN, AND P. LASTMAN AT AMSTERDAM HIS RETURN TO LEYDEN. 




E 



EYDEN had gradually recovered 
strength after the ordeal of that 
double siege (i573— 1574) in 
which she had successfully defied the 
Spaniard. By the beginning of the 
seventeenth century few visible tokens 
remained of the ruin and desolation 
wrought by the war of independence. 
The ancient city, clustering about her 
venerable Burg, and girdled by smiling 
villages, expanded freely along the two 
arms of the Rhine, which, uniting 
here, lose themselves a little farther in 
the sandy dimes. With the develop- 
ment of her commerce she had regained 
something of her earlier splendour. 
For generations the residence of the Counts of Holland, Leyden was, 
and is to this day, the seat of the Rynland, a species of syndicate, 
formed for the control and regulation of the waters, in the heart of 
the land most exposed to their ravages. Her cathedral church, dedi- 
cated to St. Peter, a vast five-aisled basilica of the early fourteenth 
century, had escaped the destruction shared by many buildings, the 
ornaments of Leyden before the war. The Town-hall, which had been 
burnt down several times, had just been rebuilt from the plans of 

B 



REMBRANDT S MOTHER. 

162S (B. 354). 



2 REMBRANDT 

the skilful artist Lieven de Key, a Flemish emigrant who had been 
cordially received at Haarlem, where his talents gained him the post 
of city architect. 

Distinguished for her charities, even in a country where charity 
is exercised in so liberal and intelligent a spirit, Leyden boasted, in 
addition to the municipal orphanage, rebuilt in 1607 ^^^^ the Church 
of St. Pancras, a large number of homes for the orphaned, the aged, 
and the infirm. These asylums were superintended and maintained 
by members of the patrician families who had founded them. The 
most perfect order and cleanliness reigned throughout ; the walls 
enclosed gardens gay with flowers ; and the poor inmates enjoyed 
at least a semblance of family life and social ease. 

Many of the municipal bodies and military and civic guilds had 
taken up their quarters in the religious buildings — chapels or 
cloisters — depopulated by the Reformation. Thus the Chapel of 
the Hospital of St. James had become the Cloth Hall, where 
were held the meetings of the Drapers' Guild, the most important 
of the local industries. The homes of citizens rose on every side — 
in the streets, and on the quays of the Breedstraat, the Oude-Singel, 
the Rapenburg, and the Langeburg — some retaining the features of 
the old national style — others inspired by the art of the Renaissance, 
which was beginning to find favour. The rapid growth of the 
city had resulted in the extension of its boundaries towards the 
east. The original enceinte, notwithstanding its enlargement in the 
thirteenth and again in the fourteenth century, had become obsolete, 
and a series of new defensive works had been constructed. A popula- 
tion at once warlike and lettered animated the wide streets, now silent 
and deserted. Artisans, petty traders, drapers, scholars, and men of 
science had stood shoulder to shoulder in days past, each outvying the 
other in heroism to resist the common foe. Henceforth, the memory of 
faticj-ues and danp;ers shared too;ether formed a bond of union between 
class and class ; a new spirit was working within them ; and 
the natural energy of the people, stimulated by the great events 
in which they had taken part, developed freely. It was a time of 
expansion and noble activity such as is seldom recorded in human 
history. 

Tradition has it, that when William of Orange desired to 
recognise the great services of Leyden to the national cause by 
temporary exemption from taxation, the inhabitants craved, instead 
of the proffered boon, the gift of an* University. This University 
was created by a charter of February 9, 1575, and liberally 
endowed. Its original domicile was the ancient cloister of St. 
Barbara. It was afterwards removed to the Jacobin Chapel, where 
it remains. The most distinguished scholars of the age, Justus 
Lipsius, Scaliger, Vossius, Saumaise, Daniel Heinsius, Marnix de 
Sainte-Aldegonde, and many others, were successively among its 
professors. There Arminius and Gomarus taught theology, and 
the former, by word and writings, waged war, unceasing and 



LEYDEN AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 3 

successful, against superstitions and prejudices that remained 
dominant throughout the rest of Europe. With the aid of some 
of his colleagues, he wiped out for ever from the annals of 
his country the penal laws against sorcerers, and the judicial 
persecution of the Jews, which continued to disgrace the most 
civilised nations of Europe. Important works of every kind issued 
from the printing-presses of Leyden, proclaiming far and wide the 
fertility of an intellectual centre which, in glorious rivalry with 
Plantin of Antwerp, produced the classic editions of the Elzevirs, 
so highly prized by later bibliophiles. The care bestowed on the 
training of youth attracted students from all parts of the country, 
and Leyden became a nursery of talent, and a home of patriotism 
— the throbbing heart, so to speak, of corporate Holland. 

On this favoured spot Rembrandt was born, July 15, 1606. 
The date 1606, an extremely probable one, is not absolutely above 
suspicion. Though universally accepted by earlier students, it was 
rejected by Vosmaer, after Dr. Scheltema's discovery of the 
following entry, under the date July 10, 1634, in the marriage 
registers of Amsterdam : " Rembrandt Harmensz of Leyden, aged 
26." According to this, his birth-year was 1608. On the other 
hand, an impression in the second state, of an etching in the British 
Museum, the subject a portrait of Rembrandt by himself, bears the 
inscription, believed to be by his own hand: cut. 24, anno 1631, 
which would give 1607 ^o^ the date of birth. The figure 24 has, 
however, been challenged, and Charles Blanc read it 25. But even 
if we admit the authenticity of the inscription, the question still 
presents obvious difficulties. It is hardly to be wondered at that 
Dr. Bredius upholds the old date, 1606, in spite of Vosmaer's argu- 
ments. After careful examination, we also accept it, as resting on 
fuller and more crucial evidence than any other ; and primarily, as 
supported by the testimony of all writers, contemporary with Remdrandt 
or flourishing shortly after his death, who give any account of him. 
The first among these is the Burgomaster Orlers, who, in his Descrip- 
tion of Leyden published in 1641, gives the date July 15, 1606, together 
with the exact names of Rembrandt's father and mother. He is 
followed by Simon van Leeuwen, in another Descj^iption of Leyden 
(1672), and by Houbraken, in his Lives of Painfers} Two documents 
recently discovered by Dr. Bredius tend rather to further confuse 
than to elucidate the matter. One is the enregistration of 
Rembrandt, aged fourteen, as a student at the Faculty of Letters 
at Leyden in 1620. The date 1606 is hereby confirmed. But 
the other document, the proces-verbal of a committee of experts, 
among whom was Rembrandt, convened September 16, 1653, to 
decide upon the authenticity of a picture by Paul Brill, speaks of 
him as "about forty-six years old." If we accept this statement 
literally, we must conclude that he was born in 1607. Certainty 

^ Houbraken writes June instead of July — doubtless an error of transcription: 
Juni for Juli. 

B 2 



REMBRANDT 



is out of the question in view of such a conflict of evidence. And 
having laid the various arguments before our readers, we propose to 
adopt, with all necessary reservations, the original date 1606, as 
that accepted by the most competent critics, Messrs. Bode, Eisenmann, 
and Karl Woermann. 

Rembrandt was fifth among the six children of the miller Harmen 
Gerritsz, born in 1568 or 1569, and married on October S, 1589, 
to Neeltge Willemsdochter, the daughter of a Leyden baker, who 

had migrated from Zuit- 
broeck. Both were mem- 
bers of the lower middle 
class, and in comfortable 
circumstances, for, besides 
the family dwelling at Ley- 
den, near the junction of 
the two branches of the 
Rhine, Harmen owned the 
greater part of a windmill 
almost opposite, on the 
Pelican quay, close to the 
White Gate.^ Several 
other houses, together with 
some gardens beyond the 
town, were his property, 
and figure in his will with 
plate, jewels, and linen of 
some value. 

Harmen had gained 
the respect of his fellow- 
citizens, and in 1605 he 
was appointed head of a 
section in the Pelican 
quarter. He seems to have 
acquitted himself honour- 
ably in this office, for in 
1620 he was re-elected. 
He was a man of educa- 
tion, to judge by the firm- 
ness of his handwriting 
as displayed in his signa- 
ture to the will above- 
mentioned, which he deposited with the notary W. van Oudevliet on 
March i, 1600. He, and his eldest son after him, signed themselves 
van Ryn (of the Rhine), and, following their example, Rembrandt 
added this designation to his monogram on many of his youthful 
works. In final i)roof of the family prosperity, we may mention 

1 This mill, in which malt was ground for beer, doubtless gave rise to the long- 
accepted legend of Rembrandt's birth in a mill near Leyden. 




MUNICIPAL ORPHANAGE AND CHURCH OF ST. PANCRAS AT LEYDEN. 

(Drawing by Boudier, after a photograph.) 



THE BIRTH OF REMBRANDT 5 

their ownership of a burial-place in the Church of St. Peter, near 
the pulpit,^ 

No record of Rembrandt's early youth has come down to us. 
But we may be sure that his religious instruction was the object of 
his mother's special care, and that she strove to instill into her son 
the faith and moral principles that formed her own rule of life. 
Among the many portraits of her painted or etched by Rembrandt, 
the greater number represent her either with the Bible in her hand 
or close beside her.^ The passages she read, the stories she recounted 
to him from her favourite book, made a deep and vivid impression 




LEYDEN UNIVEKSrrV, FROM KAFENHUKG. 

(Drawing by Boudier, after a photograph.) 



on the child, and in later life he sought subjects for his works 
mainly in the sacred writings. Calligraphy in those days was, with 
the elements of grammar, looked upon as a very important branch 
of education. It was esteemed an art, and its professors ranked 
little below painters in the Holland of that period. The success 
won by the works of Boissens, Van de Vclde, and Coppenol, and the 
rapid sale of numerous editions, sufficiently attest this. Some 
examples of their workmanship have been preserved. A wonderful 
lightness of hand and great accuracy are displayed in complicated 

^ Oiid-HoUand, v. p. ii. 

2 Hardly the etched portraits — may I venture to say ? — oneor tivo of ichich represent her 
now with a worldly astuteness, now with a tolerant and not less tvorldly humour. — F. W. 



6 REMBRANDT 

Nourishes and embellishments, and capitals adorned with all kinds 
of elaborate ornament, among which the more skilful loved to 
introduce figures and animals. The copies set for children were 
generally of an edifying description ; verses, and moral quatrains, 
in the style of those popularised by the Sieur de Pibrac in France 
(1574) and speedily translated into all languages. These were 
transcribed and learnt by heart, together with selections from con- 
temporary literature, in which, following the taste of the day, a 
realism often vulgar enough was blended w^ith a curious affectation 
of ultra-refinement. That Rembrandt learnt to write his own 
language fairly correctly, we learn from the few letters by him still 
extant. Their orthography is not more faulty than that of many of 
his most distinguished contemporaries. His handwriting is very 
legible, and has even a certain elegance ; and the clearness of sonie 
of his signatures does credit to his childish lessons. 

With a view, however, to his further advancement, Rembrandt's 
parents had enrolled him among the students of Latin literature at 
the University.^ The boy proved but an indifferent scholar. He 
seems to have had little taste for reading-; to judge by the small 
number of books to be found in the inventory of his effects in later 
life. He was probably not a very frequent visitor to the famous 
library of the Faculty, the orderly interior of which is familiar to us 
from Swanenburch's engraving, where the books, duly classified 
and distributed, are shown to have been prudently fixed by iron 
rods to the desks at which the student stood to consult them. But 
the botanical garden by the side of the library, an addition of the 
year 15S7, had doubtless greater attractions for him.- One of his 
inquiring mind must have found much to interest him among the 
strange plants growing either in the open air or in hothouses, and 
the curious beasts imported from Dutch settlements in the Indies 
— fish, turtles, and crocodiles, then rarely to be seen in Europe. 
Another plate, engraved by Swanenburch in 16 10, gives a bird's-eye 
view of this establishment, the germ of those zoological gardens now 
a characteristic feature of Dutch towns. 

Amidst all this provision for mental training, physical exercises 
were not neglected. In, the series of plates illustrating the University 
of Leyden there is one with the legend : Ludi ptiblici. It represents 
a sort of riding-school, where young men are occupied in fencing, 
riding, gymnastics, and the management of various weapons ; an ex- 
cellent preparation alike for civic life or for the defence of national 
freedom, should dangers once more threaten it. On the 3rd of October 
in every year, public festival was held in Leyden, to commemorate her 

^ As Mr. Haverkorn van Ryswyk has pointed out, it by no means follows that 
Rembrandt's parents intended him to go through the whole curriculum. Such enrol- 
ments were often made with a view to certain privileges or exemptions from taxation 
accorded to members of the Universit}-. 

2 Descartes, who praised the efficiency of the institution, acted as intermediary for 
the exchange of seeds between the Leyden establishment and thejardin du Roi. 



FETES AND CUSTOMS OF THE TIMES 



KORTI (VBLia ACADLMIA LUQDUNO-BATAN^ 



xiEous ti niLviun vau Kumxr 



heroic resistance, and the raising of the siege in 1574. On that day, 
to the sound of bells pealing their loudest, and the triumphant melodies 
of the carillon set up in the tower of the Town-hall by H. van Nuys, 
of Hasselt, in 1578, the civic guard unfurled their banners, took arms, 
and marched in gala dress through the city. A solemn review was 
held ; the corporation then proceeded to elect their chief magis- 
trates ; after which, officers and men met at a banquet in their 
Doe/en, in the western quarter of the town, near the University. 
Foremost among the spectators on their route, no doubt, was the 
future painter of the Night Watch, with his ruddy face, his long 
dishevelled hair, his piercing eyes, and alert expression. Nor was 
the University without its part in the pageant. It was customary for 
the Chamber of Rhetoric 
to organise for the occa- 
sion one of those proces- 
sions, semi-religious semi- 
pagan, so greatly in 
vogue in the seventeenth 
century. A white-robed 
maiden, seated on a car, 
personated Holy Scrip- 
ture, and was attended 
by the four Evangelists, 
the types of theological 
learning. Law and Medi- 
cine were also represented 
by allegorical figures, es- 
corted by the most famous 
jurisconsults and physi- 
cians of antiquity. The 
procession ended with a 
ship, on which Apollo 
and the nine Muses sup- 
ported Neptune, in allusion to the deliverance of Leyden, and the 
inundation by which she was saved. 

Simultaneously with these official fetes were held free markets, 
public games, and fairs, with their necessary following of mountebanks 
and bumpkins. Such sights and amusements must have afforded end- 
less subjects for study to an observer like Rembrandt. Mixing with 
the crowd, he noted the manners and impressions of the populace, and 
seized upon those momentary effects of attitude and gesture which he 
afterwards rendered with such amazing truth and eloquence. But it was 
in the Town-hall that the student found enjoyment most congenial to 
his tastes. It was thrown open to the public at these seasons, and 
there, side by side with banners wrested from the enemy, and spoil 
taken from the tent of Francesco de Valdez himself, Rembrandt 
studied the two famous pictures of those Leyden painters who had 
spent the greater part of their lives in his native town, Cornelis 




BOTANICAL GARDENS OK LEVUEN UNIVEKSITV. 

(Afier an engraving by W. Swanenburch.) 



REMBRANDT 



Engelbrechtsz and his pupil, Lucas Huyghensz, better known as Lucas 
van Leyden. Engelbrechtsz' great triptych — the Crucifixion in the 
central panel, Abrahavis Sacrifice and the Brazen Serpent on the 
wings — painted for the Convent of Marienpoel, was preserved at the 
ruin of the convent towards the end of the sixteenth century, and 
taken under the guardianship of the municipality, "by reason," says 
Van Mander, " of its value, and in memory of the eminent master and 

citizen, its author." The 
work was, indeed, a re- 
markable one, and its 
artistic merit justifies the 
high esteem in which it 
was held. In the execu- 
tion, though its analogies 
with that peculiar to the 
successors of the Van 
Eycks are, of course, 
striking, we find dawning 
traces of features charac- 
teristically Dutch. Such 
is the realism displayed 
in the portraits of the 
donors, members of the 
Martini family, painted 
on the reverse of the 
shutters, and the treat- 
ment of the landscape 
backgrounds, in which 
the blue tones of the 
distance are very har- 
moniously opposed to the 
brown and yellow tints 
of the rocks. In the 
foreQ:round, the artist has. 
even given, in elaborate 
detail, the exact forms of 
periwinkles, thistles and 
succory, and of the brambles entangling the ram which is to take 
the place of Isaac. 

But in the Last Judgment of Lucas van Leyden, with its 
accompanying panels. Paradise and Hell, Rembrandt must have 
recognised a deeper love of Nature, a higher originality in design, 
and a finer sense of richness in harmony and colour. Gazing at this 
important work, he may have recalled the legends that were current 
as to the painter's life, his precocity and successes, the manner in 
which his fame had spread throughout Europe, that career of arduous 
toil, cut short perhaps by the lordly dissipations of later years, which 
Durer chronicled in his account of his own visit to the Netherlands, 




JAie OK THK " DOELEN " OF ST. GEORGE AT LEYUEN (1614). 

(Drawing by Boudier, after a photograph.) 



I 





^///av 01 ail Old Man {about /6j;o). 

Red Chiilk. 

(LOl-VRE.) 



THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF LEYDEN 



and friendship with the Dutch master. The picture itself had its his- 
tory. Painted in 1533 for the Church of St. Peter, it was rescued 
from destruction in the terrible outbreak of the Iconoclasts, and 
transferred to the Town-hall in 1577. So great was its fame, Van 
Mander tells us, that " powerful monarchs had taken steps to 
acquire it ; but their offers were politely declined by the magistrature, 
who refused to part with the glorious creation of a fellow-citizen." 

The reverence paid 
to these two masters, 
and the celebrity of their 
works, may well have 
stimulated Rembrandt's 
consciousness of his voca- 
tion. His tastes were 
confirmed by the great 
appreciation with which 
the talents of his prede- 
cessors had been re- 
warded. He dreamt that 
he too might some day 
do honour to his native 
town, and that his pic- 
tures mioht claim their 
share of admiration, side 
by side with the works 
of his illustrious fore- 
runners. But though his 
glory has far surpassed 
theirs, we look in vain 
for Rembrandt's handi- 
work in the Leyden 
Museum, where Lucas's 
Last Judgment and the 
triptych of his master, 
Engelbrechtsz, are still town-hall op ..bvu.n. 

conspicuous. (Drawing by Doudier, after a photogr.iph.) 

Great as was his de- 
light in these masterpieces, pleasures even more congenial were found in 
the country round about Leyden, and Rembrandt was never at a loss in 
hours of relaxation. Though of a tender and affectionate disposition, 
he was always somewhat unsociable, preferring to observe from a dis- 
tance, and to live apart, after a fashion of his own. That love of the 
country which increased with years manifested itself early with him. 
The situation of his father's house, on the ramj)arts at the western 
extremity of the town, was such as he himself might have chosen for 
the indulgence of his solitary mood. Opposite, and in full \icw of 
his dwelling, rose the picturesque White Gate, flanked by its Gothic 
towers, commanding the course of the river ; on the other bank, 




lo REMBRANDT 

half hidden amonor trees, were the houses of the superintendent of 
works, and of the municipal carpenter — buildings of the old Dutch 
type. His daily walks offered constant variety of scene. In the 
immediate neighbourhood, towards Rynsburch, were green meadows 
dotted with grazing cattle, farms sheltered by great trees, canals, 
and the river itself, with its endless procession of white or coloured 
sails. Towards Oegtsgeest, where his father owned a pleasure- 
o-arden, stretch pasture-lands, and fair domains whose secluded 
groves were landmarks on the wide plain. If time allowed, 
he would extend his pilgrimage to the coast, towards Katwyk or 
Zuytbroeck, the birthplace of his mother's family, where he 
probably had kinsfolk to visit. This was no doubt the direction in 
which his steps were most often bent, for here he found Nature 
given over to herself amidst the billowy tumult of wind-swept 
dimes, and sparse herbage tossed and twisted by the gale. Sur- 
rounded by this strange landscape, where grandeur and delicacy blend 
and harmonise, he must often have lost himself in contemplation of 
infinite horizons beyond the restless gray waters, of the scud of 
tlying clouds driven before the breeze, and the play of their 
shadows flitting through space. Then on the morrow the daily task 
seemed more than ever irksome to the poor recluse, and the 
master's lesson fell on heedless ears. There was no gainsaying 
indications so strongly manifested. Rembrandt's parents, recognising 
his disinclination for letters, and his pronounced aptitude for painting, 
decided to remove him from the Latin school. Renouncing the 
career they had themselves marked out for him, they consented 
to his own choice of a vocation, when he was about fifteen 
years old. His rapid progress in his new course was soon to 
gratify the ambitions of his family more abundantly than they 
had ever hoped. 

Leyden offered but few facilities to the art-student at that period. 
Painting, after a brief spell of splendour and activity, had given 
place to science and letters. A first attempt to found a Guild of 
St. Luke there in 1610 had proved abortive, though Leyden's neigh- 
bours, the Hague, Delft, and Haarlem, reckoned many masters of 
distinction among the members of their respective companies. 
Rembrandt's parents, however, considered him too young to leave 
them, and they decided that his apprenticeship should be passed in his 
native place. An intimacy of long standing, and perhaps some tie 
of kinship, determined their choice of a master. They fixed upon 
an artist now almost forgotten, but greatly esteemed by his contem- 
jjoraries. Jacob van Swanenburch belonged, indeed, to a patrician 
tamily of high standing, various members of which had held important 
posts in the municipal administration from the beginning of the 
sixteenth century. One of his brothers, Claes, was also a painter ; 
another, Willem, was the engraver of the series of plates already 
referred to ; and their father, Isaac van Swanenburch, who from 
1582 to the year of his death, 1614, had held office either as dckeviu 



THE SWANENBURCHS ii 

or burgomaster of the city, was an artist of considerable talent, as 
is evident from the series of six pictures painted by him for the 
Drapers' Hall.^ The four best represent various operations in 
the manufacture of woollen goods. Their frank painting and 
vigorous colour recall the robust realism of Pieter Aertsen. But 
it must be confessed that the works of Rembrandt's master were 
very inferior. 

Jacob van Swanenburch was born about 1580, and is supposed 
to have received his first lessons in painting from his father. By 
1 6 10 he must have been well known, for in that year he painted an 
overmantel for the Town-hall of Leyden with the subject Pharaoh 
and his Host drowned in the Red Sea, an allusion, no doubt, to the 
catastrophe that overwhelmed the Spaniards towards the end of the 
siege of Leyden. The picture was probably unimportant ; it dis- 
appeared in 1666, and no traces of it are discoverable. The same fate 
befell most of the artist's works ; the only one now extant is a Papal 
Procession in the Square of S. Peters at Rome, dated 1628, and 
signed lacomo Swanenburch. Borne on the stream of emigration 
which carried so many of his brother artists to Italy at that period, 
he had sojourned there from 16 14 to 161 7, and had even taken 
a wife at Naples. After his return to his native town, where he 
remained till his death (October 17, 1638), he lived in high re- 
pute among his fellow-citizens, less perhaps by reason of his 
talents than of the prestige of his family. His artistic capacity was 
indeed extremely limited, to judge by the said Papal Procession, 
now in the Copenhagen Gallery. It is a panel with the Pope in 
the foreground, borne upon the Sedia gestatoria, and dispensing 
blessings to the crowd that presses round him ; in the background 
we see the basilica, the Vatican, and the square as it appeared before 
the construction of Bernini's colonnade. Setting aside its historic 
interest, the picture has little to recommend it. The arrangement 
lacks taste and a due perception of effect ; the drawing is very 
incorrect, especially that of the horses, and the colour monotonous 
and inharmonious. 

Though, as Orlers tells us, Rembrandt could learn little beyond 
the first principles of his art from such a teacher, he was treated by 
Swanenburch with a kindness not always met with by such youthful 
probationers. The conditions of apprenticeship were often very 
rigorous ; the contracts signed by pupils entailed absolute servitude, 
and exposed them in some hands to treatment which the less long- 
suffering among them evaded by flight. But Swanenburch belonged 
by birth to the aristocracy of his native city. Nor did he lack a model 
in his own family by which to regulate his conduct, for a painter 
of the preceding generation, Allart Claesz, a kinsman of the 
Swanenburchs, had been as a father to his numerous pupils, and had 
gained the affection of all by his wise benevolence. There seems, 
on the whole, little cause to regret that Rembrandt was not placed 
^ These pictures are now in the Leyden Museum. 



REMBRANDT 



under a more distinguished master. Broadly speaking, the greatest 
painters are rarely the best teachers ; their very originality and 
the commanding nature of their genius may so powerfully affect the 
disciple as to paralyse his individual growth. To Rembrandt, with 
his open mind and independent character, less brilliant teaching was 
more suitable. His vocation was so pronounced that directly he 
was permitted to give up all his time to his art he made 
astonishing progress. Orlers is very positive in his testimony on 
this point. During his three years under Swanenburch ^ this progress 
was such that all fellow-citizens interested in his future " were 
amazed, and foresaw the glorious career that awaited him." 

His novitiate over, Rembrandt had nothing further to learn from 
Swanenburch, and he was now of an age to quit his father's house. 
His parents agreed that he should leave them, and perfect himself 

in a more important art-centre. They 
made choice of Amsterdam, and of a 
master in Pieter Lastman, a very well- 
known painter at that period. Per- 
haps Swanenburch himself, who had 
known Lastman in Italy, recommended 
this course. But we think it was 
probably due to the intervention of a 
young compatriot of Rembrandt's, Jan 
Lievens, who was already one of 
Lastman's pupils. The families of the 
two young men belonged to about the 
same rank in life. Lievens' father, 
formerly an embroiderer of wall-hang- 
ings, had turned farmer, which may 
perhaps have brought about his ac- 
quaintance with the miller Gerritsz. 
The identity of their tastes no doubt 
drew the two boys together. But 
Lievens' talent, even more precocious 
than Rembrandt's, was early recognised and fostered by his parents. 
Born on October 24, 1607, he was placed under Joris Verschooten ^ 
at the age of eight, and soon distinguished himself by a facility of 
which marvellous stories were told by his admiring fellow-citizens. 
Some would relate how he had copied a picture of Democritus 

^ Three years was the usual term of an apprenticeship. At least, it was the term 
fixed by the statutes of guilds established in the neighbourhood, notably that of St. Luke 
at Haarlem. 

2 Simon van Leeuwen asserts that Verschooten was also Rembrandt's master. But as 
neither Orlers nor any among the better-informed of Rembrandt's biographers mention 
the fact. It seems probable that Leeuwen, who generally takes his information touching 
contemporary artists from Orlers, was in error. Neither do we believe that Rembrandt 
was the pupil of J. Pynas, as has been sometimes asserted. His biographers are equally 
silent on this point. Houbraken merely says that he imitated "the brown manner of 
rynas. ' 




OLD WOMAN ASLEEP. 

About 1635 (B. 350). 



PIETER LASTMAN 



13 




THE RAISING OK La;',A 

About 1633 (n. 73). 



and Heraclihis by Cornells van Haarlem so perfectly that it was 
impossible to distinguish it from the original ; others how, after 
hearing a bare description of the circumstances, he had painted 



,^ REMBRANDT 

a picture representing the repression by the civic guard of the 
reHgious outbreak at Leyden on November 4, 1618. At the age of 
ten, the infant prodigy was sent to pursue his studies in Lastman's 
studio, where he remained two years, from 1618 to 1620. It does 
not appear that he was ever Rembrandt's fellow-pupil, as has been 
commonly asserted ; for Rembrandt first went to Lastman in 1624. 
But it is very probable that on his return to Leyden he extolled 
the teachinp- of a master whose reputation was then at its height. 

In Lastman's studio, methods of instruction much akin to those 
adopted by Swanenburch were in vogue, though the personal talent 
modifying them was of a far higher order. Lastman was, in fact, a 
member of the same band of Italiaiiisers who had gravitated round 
Elsheimer at Rome. In his valuable study on the latter, Dr. Bode has 
renewed our interest in this somewhat neglected painter.^ Though his 
works have no special merit, Elsheimer's is an important figure in art- 
history. The influence he exercised, notably on painters of the foreign 
colony in Rome, is undeniable. The fertility and flexibility of his 
art contributed largely to the transformation of painting. By taking 
the picturesque side of subjects hitherto approached only in the grand 
manner, and treating them with the elaborate finish proper to their 
small dimensions, he gave new life to apparently exhausted themes. 
An indefatigable worker, modest, intelligent, and studious, he was 
beloved by all who knew him, and was in special favour with the 
Dutch painters, who, by virtue alike of traditions and natural leanings, 
were best prepared to understand and to imitate him. 

Lastman was one of Elsheimer's most ardent disciples at Rome. 
Sprung from a family in which the liberal professions were highly 
esteemed, he reckoned many artists among his kindred.^ He went 
to Italy when about twenty, and remained three or four years. In 
1607 he returned to Amsterdam, bringing with him a store of classic 
tradition and study which served for artistic pabulum till his death. 
While the art of his native land was developing its natural tendencies 
and character around him on every side, he clung to Elsheimer's 
subjects, often mingling the familiar types or features of Holland 
with reminiscences of Italian art and scenery. Pictures by him are 
scattered throughout Europe, but may be found in greatest number 
in German galleries, public and private. The vogue they once 
enjoyed was followed by complete neglect ; and recent researches 
connected with Rembrandt, rather than their intrinsic merit, have 
brought them into notice again. 

An Ulysses and Nausicaa in the Brunswick Museum, signed 
with his monogram, is dated 1609, and was therefore painted two 
years after Lastman's return from Italy. It was a favourite episode 
with the artist, for ten years later he painted it again, in a picture 

^ Studien zur Geschichte der holldndischen Malerei, by W. Bode. 18S3. i vol. Svo. 

Pp- =31-356. 

'^ The life and works of Lastman have been exhaustively treated in a notice by 
Messrs. Bredius and De Roever, published in Oud-Holland (iv. pp. 1-23). 



THE WORKS OF PIETER EASTMAN 15 

now in the Augsburg Museum, modifying the composition in some 
notable points. Ulysses has escaped from the wreck, and kneels 
naked and suppliant, endeavouring by the humility 
of his demeanour to reassure Nausicaa's companions, ■ 

a band of nymphs in turbans and fantastic costumes, | I 

who are flying in terror from the feast prepared by h^^ 

them on the shore. The daughter of Alcinous / 

advances alone towards the hero, and expresses her ' ^ 

compassion in somewhat exaggerated pantomime. I i) {^ O 

The colour is hard and violent ; the brick-reds of -^ V/ %y iy 
the carnations stand out in harsh relief against a "^ 

dull flat sky. In a David Singing in the Temple of 
the same collection, signed Pietro Lastman and dated 16 18, there is the 
same crudity, and total lack of harmony. The work, notwithstanding 
the termination of the painter's Christian name, is rather Flemish than 
Italian. In type and costume, the singing children of the foreground, 
and the musicians who perform lustily on various instruments — violin, 
violoncello, trombone, trumpet, and tambourine — vaguely recall the 
fiorures of Rubens. In a collection of ereat interest to students of 
Rembrandt's predecessors and contemporaries, that of M. Semenoff. of 
St. Petersburg, there is an Annunciation of the same date. The kneel- 
ing Virgin has thrown aside the 
work on which she was engaged. -, 

Near the basket containing it a 13 /" /> / 1 4 i^t (\\^ 
cat is playing with a little bell 1 tCtlO i-^ OLl U / ( tuL 
on the floor, while an angel in a /* * . 

red chasuble points heavenwards l^CAl -/v flnO )^J8 

to the Holy»Spirit hovering among 
clouds. The angel's gesture is 

expressive, but the execution is coarse and heavy. The same date. 
16 1 8, again appears on an Annunciation to the Magi, in Count 
Moltke's gallery at Copenhagen. The master, by way of displaying 
his dexterity, has introduced a number of vases of every shape and 
style to the left, and to the right, a variety of animals : an ass, a 
horse, goats, camels, and parrots. Here again the tonality is crude, 
but there is a certain vip-our in its harshness. An unsioned and 
undated picture in the Cassel Gallery, the Sacrifice to Juno (No. 500 
in the Catalogue), has such strong affinities with the above that we 
are inclined to pronounce it the work of Lastman at this same period, 
16 1 8, the time of his greatest activity. The marble statue of the 
goddess is enthroned on an altar surrounded by colonnades and 
porticoes ; a group of worshippers presses round her ; in the distance 
is the temple of Tivoli, which Rembrandt, like his master, often 
introduced in his backgrounds. The general effect is thoroughly 
unpleasant ; the eye is oftended by a mass of discordant tones ; 
vermilion reds are opposed either to pale neutral tints, dull grays, 
or violent blues and yellows, regardless of harmony and of unity. 
Abraham ivith the Angels, a work of 162 1, also in Tvl. Semenoffs 



i6 



REMBRANDT 



collection, and the Abrahams Sacrifice, a gi^isaille in the 
Amsterdam Ryksmuseum, are chiefly interesting as dealing with 
subjects often treated by Rembrandt and his pupils in after-years. 
In a Raising of Lazarus of 1622, recently acquired by the Hague 
Museum, Lastman's garish tonality is peculiarly offensive, for the 
action takes place at the mouth of a cave, where the use of chiaroscuro 
was imperative. 

These works were all produced in Lastman's best period, about 
the time when Lievens, and after him Rembrandt, became his pupils. 
In none of them, however, can we discern any of that preoccupation 
with the problems of chiaroscuro ascribed to him by certain writers, 

who claim that he pointed out 
the way to Rembrandt. There 
are traces of it, no doubt, in a 
small picture in the Haarlem 
Museum, Christmas Night, 
bearing a date which Yos- 
maer read " 1629." We found 
the figures quite illegible 
after careful examination, and 
several Dutch friends whose 
aid we invoked were no more 
successful in deciphering 
them. The general arrange- 
ment, the attitude and gesture 
of Joseph, and, above all, the 
treatment of light, show strong 
analogies to the work of 
Rembrandt. But the sense 
of chiaroscuro here displayed 
was not uncommon at the 
period, and may be observed 
in the pictures of many con- 
temporary painters. It is an 
important factor in the work 
of two artists who had felt 
the influence of Caravaggio, 
Valentin in France, and Honthorst in Holland. But with them, as 
with Lastman, such effects of light are always rendered by abrupt and 
violent contrasts, and have none of the afifinity of gradation and 
transparency in the shadows which give them beauty. 

When Rembrandt entered Lastman's atelier, the master was at the 
zenith of his fame. His contemporaries lauded him to the skies, pro- 
claiming him the Phoenix and the Apelles of the age. He was 
further held to be one of the best judges living of Italian art, and as 
this now began to find favour in Holland he was often called upon to 
assess the value of pictures for sales or inventories. His house 
was a popular one, and his young pupil was doubtless brought 




REMHRANDT S FATHER. 

1630 (B. 304). 



LASTMAN'S INFLUENCE ON REMBRANDT 



17 



into contact with famous artists and other persons of distinction. 
Such intercourse must have been of great vakie to him, enlarging 
his mind, and developing his powers of observation. How or where 
Rembrandt was lodged at Amsterdam we know not. Before parting 
with their son, his parents had no doubt provided a comfortable home 




REMBKANDTS MOTHliK. 

About 1631 (T). 343/ 



for him. It was a common practice in those days, and one which 
still obtains in Holland, for students to board and lodge in the 
houses of citizens, where they were treated as members of the family. 
This was usual even among the University students at Leyden 
who did not belong to the town. In a census paper of 15S1, quoted 

c 



,8 REMBRANDT 

by Vosmaer, we find that Rembrandt's grandparents had received 
as a boarder one " Egma, native of Friesland." It is therefore 
possible that Rembrandt may have been placed in the home of 
friends at Amsterdam ; but more probably he was an inmate of his 
master's house, such being the usual arrangement under the circum- 
stances. The affectionate terms on which he always remained with 
Lastman seem to favour this hypothesis. The conditions under 
which he would have been admitted to his master's home may be 
gleaned from other sources. Such conditions were generally arranged 
between the contracting parties, and were not often embodied in a 
leo-al document. A few such are, however, extant, one among them 
beiui:^ the agreement, of about this date, between Isaac Isaksz, a 
painter of Amsterdam, and Adriaen Caraman, a youth of seventeen, 
who wished to become his pupil. The latter engages to grind 
colours and prepare canvases for himself and his master, and in all 
ways to conduct himself zealously and submissively as a " servant- 
pupil." In return, Isaac is to give him food and instruction, and 
the lad's father, on his part, agrees to furnish him with " a barrel 
of herrings or cod as required, and a bed and bedding." Such a 
state of semi-servitude involved more or less of hardship, according 
to the character of the master ; it was possible to alleviate it by the 
payment of certain sums of money, which ensured more of liberty 
and comfort to the apprentice. Though Leyden was at no great 
distance from Amsterdam, Rembrandt probably received few visits 
from his parents. His father could not easily have left his mill, nor 
his mother her household duties. But no doubt occasional gifts were 
despatched by the loving mother, with recommendations to good 
behaviour and economy from the father. The latter counsel was 
assuredly not unnecessary ; generous and impulsive, the young man 
had little idea of the value of money, as he sufficiently proved in 
later life. 

Rembrandt spent but a short time in Lastman's studio. Last- 
man, though greatly superior to Swanenburch, had all the vices 
of the Italianisei's. He had also, in common with them, a taste 
which reflected the preferences of the public, and herein lay the 
secret of his success. His drawing was correct but character- 
less, his colour harsh and discordant, his handling heavy and 
laboured. These defects give an air of monotony to his works, 
in spite of the extreme variety of his subjects. In his treatment 
ut these subjects he never goes beyond the superficial aspect ; 
he iails to make them intrinsically expressive ; and seeks to supply 
local colour by a crowd of accessories and picturesque details. Not 
only does he fail to touch the spectator ; he seems to have had no 
such end in view. His mediocre art was, in fact, a compromise 
between the Italian and the Dutch ideal. Without attaining to the 
style of the one or the sincerity of the other, and with no marked 
originality in his methods, he continued those attempts to fuse 
the unfusible in which his predecessors had exhausted themselves. 



LASTMAN'S INFLUENCE ON REMBRANDT 



19 



To Rembrandt's single-minded temperament such a system was 
thoroughly repugnant. His natural instincts and love of truth 
rebelled against it. _ Italy was the one theme of his master, that 
Italy which the pupil knew not, and was never to know. But he 
saw everywhere around him things teeming with interest for him, 
things which appealed to his artistic soul in language more intimate 
and direct than that of his teacher. His own love of Nature was 
less sophisticated ; he saw in her beauties at once deeper and less 
complex. He longed to study her as she was, apart from the so- 
called intermediaries which obscured his vision and falsified the 
truth of his impressions. 

It may be also that exile from the home he loved so dearly became 
more and more painful to Rembrandt. He longed for his own 
people ; the spirit of independence was stirring within him, and he 
felt that he had little to gain from further teaching. Before he had 
been quite six months under Lastman he returned to Leyden, in 
1624, determining, as Orlers tells us, "to study and practise painting 
alone, in his own fashion." Notwithstanding which, Lastman's in- 
fluence on his development was very persistent, and it was long before 
Rembrandt freed himself entirely from it. Down to the period of his 
fullest maturity, we find traces of Lastman's teaching in his methods 
of composition, in his fancy for Orientalisms, in the familiarity with 
which he treats certain themes. More than once he borrowed 
the main features of a composition, and even its general arrange- 
ment, from his master. In further evidence of his respect for 
Lastman, we find two volumes of the master's drawings among his 
collections. Lastman, on the other hand, seems to have had no 
premonition of his pupil's greatness. No single work of 
Rembrandt's figures in the inventory of his effects published by 
Messrs. Bredius and De Roever. 




KKMUKANDTS FATHER. 
1630 (B. 29^). 



C 2 




A PEASANT CARRYING MILKPAILS. 

About 1650 (B. 213). 



CHAPTER II 



FIRST PICTURES PAINTED AT LEVDEN — ' ST. PAUL IN PRISON* AND 'THE MONEY- 
CHANGER' (1627), 'SAMSON AND DELILAH ' (1628), AND 'THE PRESENTATION IN 
THE TEMPLE ' — REMBRANDT'S PORTRAITS OF HIMSELF — HIS FIRST ETCHINGS — HIS 
METHODS. 




T 



REMIIKANDT, KLLLKACE, LAUGHING 

1630 (U. 316). 



HE return of one so beloved by his 
family as Rembrandt was naturally 
hailed with joyful effusion in the home 
circle. But happy as he was to find himself 
thus welcomed, he had no intention of living 
idly under his father's roof, and he at once 
set resolutely to work. He had thrown off 
a yoke that had become irksome to him. 
Henceforth he had to seek guidance from 
himself alone, choosing his own path at his 
own risk. How did he employ himself on his 
arrival at Leyden, and what were the fruits of 
that initial period ? Nothing is known on these 
points, and up to the present time no work by 
Rembrandt of earlier date than 1627 has been discovered. It must 
also be admitted that his first pictures — for the works of this date 
are paintings — give little presage of future greatness, and scarcely 
indicate the character of his genius. But amidst the evidences of 
youthful inexperience in these somewhat hasty works, we note details 
of great significance. 

The SL Paul in Prison, formerly in the Schonborn Collection, 
and acquired by the Stuttgart Museum in 1867, bears the date 
1627, together with the signature and monogram here reproduced. 
It is, on the whole, a mediocre work ; dry in handling, gray in 
colour, and perfunctory in the treatment of chiaroscuro. There is 
a lack of subordination amounting to clumsiness in the rendering of 




"THE MONEY-CHANGER" (1627) 21 

details. And yet, on closer examination of the pale sunbeam that 
lights the cell, the serious countenance of the captive, absorbed in 
meditation, and pausing, pen in hand, to find the right expression 
for his thought, his earnest gaze, and contemplative attitude, we 
recognise something 
beyond the concep- 
tion of a common- 
place tiro. We dis- J^/5xx ]y^\^\ 
cern evidences of y^\ / H (// O MU 
careful observation *7pr\^ 

which Rembrandt in 4 \^ \^l u 

the full possession 

01 niS powers WOUlU, remdrandt's signature and monogram. 

no doubt, have 

turned to higher account ; but even with the imperfect means at his 
command, he produces a striking effect. The patient and accurate 
execution of accessories, such as the straw, the great iron sword, 
and the books by the apostle's side, betokens a conscientious artist, 
who had been to Nature for such help as she could give him. 

The Aloney-Changer, which became the property of the Berlin 
Gallery in 1881, bears the same date, 1627, with a monogram 
formed of the initials of the name : Rem- 
brandt Harmensz.^ An old man, seated at 
a table littered with parchments, ledgers, and 
money-bags, holds in his left hand a candle, 
the flame of which he shades with his 
right, and carefully examines a doubtful coin. 
Here again the brushwork is somewhat k^m.randts monogram. 

heavy, and the piles of scrawled and 

dusty papers give an incoherent look to the composition. On 
the other hand, the light and the values are happily distributed 
and truthfully rendered. The general tone is rather yellow and 
monotonous ; but the colour-scheme is subdued with a view to 
the general effect by a deliberate deadening and neutralising 
of tints such as the green and violet of the table-cloth and 
mantle. The impasto is somewhat loaded in the lights, and has 
been reduced in places and apparently scraped down to avoid too 
startling a contrast with the shadows, where the brushwork is so slight 
as to reveal the transparent browns of the ground. Unlike Elsheimcr 
and Honthorst, who in treating such subjects made the actual source 
of light in all its intensity a chief feature of the picture, Rembrandt 
conceals the flame, and contents himself with rendering the light it 
sheds on surrounding objects. He felt that such attempts as those 
of his predecessors overstepped the limitations of their art ; and, re- 
stricting himself to such variety of light and shadow as may be won 

^ It was customary in Holland to add the baptismal name of the father to that 
of each child. Thus, Harmenszoon, son of Harmcn, which became Harmcnsz by 
abbreviation. 




dv] 



22 REMBS.ANDT 

without the unpleasantness of violent contrasts, he concentrated all 
his powers on the delicate modelling of the old man's head. 

These were both compositions of single persons, which it w^as 
possible to copy directly from nature. Two pictures of the following 
year, in which several figures are introduced, presented greater 
difficulties. He cannot be said to have overcome them. In the 
Samson delivered to the Philistines, formerly in the collection of the 
Princes of Orange, now in the King's Palace at Berlin, the composition 
leaves much to be desired. Like the two preceding pictures, it is 
painted on an oak panel, but of somewhat larger size {2A,\ x igf- inches), 

and the monogram with which it is signed is 

>^ slightly modified. To the interlaced initials R and 

//T^ > ^^ tf Ha horizontal stroke is appended, which we shall 

find on nearly all the works of this period, and 
KKMUKANur s MONOGRAM. which, with Dr. Bode's concurrence, we take to 

be an L, signifying Leidensis or Lttgdunensis. The 
artist continued to use it throughout his sojourn at Leyden, and 
abandoned it shortly after leaving his native city. 

Samson lies asleep on the floor at his mistress's feet, clad in a loose 
tunic of pale yellow, girt at the waist by a striped scarf of blue, 
white, pink, and gold, from which hangs a Javanese creese. Delilah 
wears a robe of dull violet bordered with blue and gold, in pleasant 
harmony with the colours of Samson's costume ; but her tame, insipid 
carnations, ill-defined features, and colourless fair hair make up an 
insignificant type which recurs in several works of this period. She 
has already shorn a handful of her lover's locks, and turns to show 
them to a Philistine behind her. The latter, armed to the teeth, 
advances cautiously, and a comrade, even less confident than he, 
hides prudently behind the bed-curtains, showing only his helmeted 
head and naked sword. Thou^rh the arrano^ement of the three fiq^ures 
in a line betrays the inexperience of youth, the handling has become 
broader and more subtle, and we note an increased sense of harmony. 
The figures are placed in frank relief against the yellowish back- 
ground of the floor and wall, and the brilliant effect of the sunlight 
that falls on the woman's breast and robe, and on Samson's tunic, 
is heightened by the dark shadows to the right of the picture. A 
characteristic detail of frequent occurrence in later works may be 
noted : among the locks in Delilah's hand are two or three strands 
drawn with the butt-end of the brush upon the moist paint. 

The same touch of coarseness in the handling, the same violent 
contrasts of light and shadow, are apparent in a Presentation in the 
Temple, once in the Sagan Collection, and recently bought by M. 
Weber of Hamburg from Count Reichcnbach von Lowemberg. It 
is signed with Rembrandt's name in full, and is not dated, but may, 
we think, be given to this period. The Infant Jesus on Simeon's 
lap is strangely rigid and wooden ; the composition, however, is 
better balanced, and the group of persons kneeling before a window 
is crowned in a very happy fashion by the erect figure of the Pro- 



"THE DENIAL OF ST. PETER" 23 

phetess Anna. The golden and russet tones harmonise well with 
the blue robe of the Virgin, and the sentiment of the scene is 
adequately expressed. As in the preceding works, the pantomime 
is vigorous to the verge of exaggeration. The young man's robust 
good sense made him anxious beyond measure to be comprehensible, 
and to preserve life and reality in the suggestion of action. Though 
his gestures are apt to become over-emphatic, and his types vulgar, 
his purpose is always clearly set forth ; and there is no mistaking his 
meaning. In process of time he learnt to render his thought by 
more subtle and varied methods, without any loss to his directness 
of expression. 

A tiny picture (8^ x 6\i inches) painted on copper (almost the only 
one to be found in all Rembrandt's oj/ivre) is signed with the painter's 
monogram, and dated 1628.^ The subject is somewhat enigmatic, 
but Dr. Bode, no doubt rightly, conjectures it to represent the Denial 
of St. Peter. The Apostle, if it be he, dressed in complete armour, 
is at bay among his interrogators, who eye him curiously as 
they stand grouped about a large fire, in the Court of the Hio-h 
Priest's house. The composition impresses by virtue of its peculiaritv, 
its variety of expression, and its truthfulness of effect. In this 
restricted field the execution seems more dexterous and less heavy, 
and the chiaroscuro more carefully studied. 

That fidelity to the living model and knowledge of chiaroscuro, of 
which traces are to be found even in these early works, Rembrandt 
acquired after a fashion of his own, by direct studies from Nature — 
studies which were powerfully to affect his development. Models 
were very scarce in Holland at this period, especially at Leyden, 
which, unlike Haarlem, possessed no Academy of painting. But means 
are never wanting to the artist really eager for instruction, and neither 
will nor intelligence was at fault in Rembrandt's case. Instead of 
looking abroad for means of improvement, the young master made 
them for himself. He determined to be his own model, and to enlist 
the services of his father, mother, and relatives. By dedicating the 
first-fruits of his talents to them, he secured a group of sitters whose 
patience was inexhaustible. Pleased to be of use to him, they fell in 
with every fresh caprice, and lent themselves to all varieties of 
experiment. Rembrandt turned thc'r complaisance to good account. 
Inspired by a passionate devotion to his art, he studied with such 
ardour that, to quote the words of Houl)raken, " he never left his work 
in his father's house as long as daylight lasted." 

To this period must be assigned several little studies of heads 
on panel which have only lately been restored to Rembrandt. 
The attribution was long contested, even after Dr. Bode had drawn 
the attention of critics to them. It was irreconcilaljle with established 
theories, and the works themselves had little in common with 
others following closely upon them. The first of the series, though 

1 It was formerly in the possession of Mr. Otto I'cin, of Berlin, and figured in a public 
sale at Cologne in 1888. It now belongs to Mr. von dcr Hcydt, of Elberfeld. 



24 



REMBRANDT 



without date or signature, is undoubtedly by Rembrandt, and may 
be bracketed with the 5/. Paul in Prison as one of his earHest pictures. 
It belongs to the Cassel Museum (No. 208 in the Catalogue), and 
is a portrait of the painter at about twenty or twenty-one years old. 
The face, turned three-quarters to the right, is broad and massive, 
and stands out in strong relief against a light background of gray- 
blue. The sunlight falls full on the neck, ear, and right cheek ; the 
forehead, eyes, and the whole of the left side are in deep shadow. 
A narrow strip of white shirt appears above the brown dress. The 

ruddy complexion, full 
nose, and sturdy neck, 
the parted lips, above 
which a soft down is 
visible, the unruly hair, 
all bespeak health and 
vigour. The type in its 
robust simplicity is that 
of a young peasant. The 
broad and summary ex- 
ecution emphasises this 
impression ; the touch is 
free and fat, and, as in 
the Samson at Berlin, the 
hair is drawn with dash- 
ing strokes of the brush- 
handle. The eyes, though 
barely visible through 
the shadow, seem to 
gaze with singular pene- 
tration at the spectator. 
The contrast of light 
and shadow is very 
pronounced, but the 
transition is skilfully 
effected by the use of an 
intermediate tone, and 
all hardness is thus 
avoided. 
In a small portrait in the Gotha Museum (No. 181 in the 
Catalogue), the treatment of chiaroscuro is still more discreet, while 
the composition is less summary, and the expression more penetrating. 
Neither date nor monogram is very legible ; traces, however, of 
Rembrandt's usual signature are to be deciphered, with the date 
1629, which seems to us a very probable one. The gradations are 
here less apparent, and are carried through with great delicacy ; 
values are better observed ; the touch is freer and lighter, notably 
in the eyes, the mouth, and the white collar overlying the brown 
dress. The impasto, though thinner than before, is still sufficient 



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PORTRAIT OF REMBRANDT. 

(Cassel Museum.) 



PORTRAITS OF REMBRANDT BY HIMSELF 



25 



to enable the artist to follow his usual practice, and to render the 
curling hair with a scraper, or with the butt-end of the brush, 
sweeping through the moist paint. This process, more expeditious 
than correct, is repeated in another portrait of larger dimensions, also 
in the Gotha Museum (No. 182 in the Catalogue). It is signed with 
Rembrandt's usual monogram, but is so clumsy in parts that its 
authenticity seems to us more than doubtful. 

The portrait in the Hague Museum, though probably of the same 
period as these, is by far 
the best and most in- 
teresting of the series. 
Here Rembrandt has 
evidently put forth all 
his strength, anxious not 
only to produce a faithful 
likeness, but to display 
the experience gained by 
recent study, in a care- 
fully considered work. 
As in the preceding 
examples, the head, 
turned three-quarters to 
the spectator, and illu- 
mined by a strong light 
from the left, is set 
against a neutral gray 
background of medium 
value. The carnations 
are very brilliant, and 
are modelled with ex- 
treme skill in a full im- 
pasto, following the sur- 
faces as we shall find it 
doing continually more 
and more in Rembrandt's 
practice. The shadows, 
though intense, preserve 
their transparency. A 
dark gray dress, and 
a somewhat crumpled 
white collar turned over 

a steel gorget, blend into pleasant harmony with the head. The type 
is that of Cassel and Gotha, but slenderer and more refined. There 
is more distinction in the bearing, greater elegance in the dress. The 
features are irregular but the fresh lips seem about to open, the small 
eyes gaze from under their prominent brows with a frank fearlessness, 
while between them we already see that vertical fold which habits of 
ceaseless observation deepened more and more as years went by. 




THE MONEY-CHANGER. 

(Fragment of the picture in the Berlin Museum.) 



26 REMBRANDT 

This youthful head, crowned by the flowing hair that falls in masses 
across the forehead, charms us by its air of health, simplicity, and 
unstudied grace. It is instinct with power and intelligence, and with 
an indescribable aspect of authority, which explains the ascendency the 
young man was soon to obtain over the minds of his contemporaries. 
Simultaneously with these pictures, Rembrandt evidently produced a 
large number of drawings. But, unfortunately, most of these are either 
lost or scattered in different collections under false attributions. Very 
few are known to us. One is a sketch in black chalk, belonging to the 
Hamburg Museum. The subject is the head of a youth, resembling 
Rembrandt himself, with a very brilliant effect of light. Another, in 
the British Museum, is a sketch in Indian ink, made with a few strokes 
of the brush. It represents the artist in a braided tunic, and is 
reproduced in an etching of 1629. 

Rembrandt no longer confined himself to drawing and painting ; 
his first etchings appeared in 1628, very little later than his first 
pictures. As in these, he took himself for a model in his etchings, 
and never tired of experimentalising on his own person for purposes 
of study. It was a habit he retained throughout his career. With 
himself for his sitter, he felt even less restraint than when his 
relatives were his models, and this ensured an endless variety in his 
studies, and absolute freedom of fancy. Exact resemblance was not 
his aim in these essays. They were studies rather than portraits. 
We shall therefore find great diversities in these renderings of his 
own features, diversities determined by the particular object he had 
in view at the moment. The artist's type is, however, so character- 
istic that it is impossible to mistake it. In the course of 1630 and 163 i 
he produced no less than twenty etched portraits of himself. These 
were preceded by a plate bearing the date 1629, with the monogram 
reversed. It is an exact reproduction, both as to attitude and cos- 
tume, of the drawing in the British Museum already mentioned. The 
composition is, however, reversed. The execution of this Bust 
portrait of Rembrandt (B. 338) is somewhat coarse and hasty ; certain 
portions of the dress and the background appear to have been engraved 
with two points held together. Rembrandt himself seems to have 
attached little importance to the plate, which he covered with retouches 
and scratches. 

Among the etched portraits of himself belonging to the next 
two years, and signed with the usual monogram, six are dated 1630 
(B. Nos. 10, 13, 24, 27, 316, and 320), and five 1631 (B. Nos. 7, 14, 15, 
16, and 25). Nine others were in all probability executed at this 
period, bringing up the total to twenty for the two years. The plates 
are very unequal in value and importance ; some, notably the earlier 
ones, are mere sketches, hastily drawn on the copper ; the execution 
uncertain, or over-laborious. Others show a firmer touch, and indicate 
marked progress. A twofold problem seems to have occupied 
the author. In some the study of chiaroscuro is the primary 
object ; he seeks to render those apparent modifications which light 




Poiirait of Rcnibraiidl {aboitl i()2()-i(\^o }. 



(llAc;l E MUSEIM.) 



HIS FIPs-ST ETCHINGS 



27 



more or less vivid, more or less oblique, produces in form, and in the 
intensity of shadows. The result is a whole series of such essays : 
the execution in most of these is very summary ; but by an ingenious 
shifting of artificial light, and a careful study of the variations due to 
such successive displacements, he gains a complete insight into the 
laws of chiaroscuro. In many of the remaining plates design is the 
main consideration, and light plays but a secondary part. The 
management of the point is firmer and more assured ; the master's 
grasp on Nature has become closer, and he strives to render her most 
characteristic traits.^ He seeks variety in attitudes, expressions, and 
costumes. He drapes himself, and poses, hand on hip, before his 
mirror ; now uncovered and dishevelled, now with a hat, a cap, a fur 
toque on his head. Every diversity of emotion is studied from his 
own features : gaiety, terror, pain, 
sadness, concentration, satisfac- 
tion, and anger. 

Such experiments had, of 
course, their false and artificial 
aspects. Grimace rather than 
expression is suggested by many 
of these pensive airs, haggard 
eyes, affrighted looks, mouths 
wide with laughter, or contracted 
by pain. But in all such violent 
and factitious, contrasts Rem- 
brandt sought the essential fea- 
tures of passions with great 
obvious effects, passions that 
stamp themselves plainly on the 
human face, and which the 
painter should therefore be able 
to render unmistakably. To this 
end, he forced expression to the 
verge of burlesque ; and, gradu- 
ally correcting his deliberate exaggerations, he learnt to command the 
whole gamut of sentiment that lies between extremes, and to impress 
its various manifestations, from the deepest to the most transient, on 
the human face. 

From this time forward, scarcely a year passed without some 
souvenir, painted or engraved, of his own personality. These 
portraits succeeded each other so rapidly and regularly as to form a 
record of the gradual changes wrought by time in his appearance and 
in the character of his genius. 

How did Rembrandt gain his knowledge of engraving ? Who 
taught him the rudiments of the art ? We know not, and none of 
his biographers throw any light on the question. 

The name and works of Lucas, the famous engraver, a native, like 

1 Ye^ nothiyig in Kembraiidf s work is more exhaustive or more subtle t/ian that " Bust of 
a7i Old Woman lightly etched^' of 1628. // is the first etched portrait of his mot Iter. — F. \V. 




rembrandt with his mouth oliin. 
1630 (b. 13). 



28 



REMBRANDT 



himself, of Leyden, were still revered in that city, and from his youth 
up Rembrandt's admiration for him was so unbounded that he was 
willino- to make any sacrifice to become the owner of a complete set 
of his works. What better guide could he have sought ? As his 
knowledge of the master increased, he must have been deeply 
impressed, not only by the simplicity of his methods, but by his 
preoccupation with those very problems which fascinated his own 
mind, notably the rendering of light and effects of chiaroscuro. As 
M. Duplessis justly observes, in his History of Engraving^: "No 
encrraver prior to Lucas van Leyden had greatly concerned himself 
with perspective, nor had any before him shown a like anxiety so to 
illuminate an intricate composition as to place each figure in its right 
plane, each object in its right place." Rembrandt's genius had many 
analoo-ies with that of his famous compatriot. Both were painters as 
well as eno-ravers. They had the same love of the picturesque, the 
same faculty of observation, the same tendency to blend familiarity with 
devotion in the treatment of religious themes, the same desire to make 
every resource of their art auxiliary to the expression of ideas. 

Nor had the traditions of Lucas van Leyden died out in his 
native town. Publishers such as the Elzevirs gave constant 
employment to co-operators who produced illustrations for their 
books ; portraits of distinguished persons, statesmen, soldiers, or 
men of letters were in great request throughout the country, and 
were freely produced by skilled engravers like Jakob de Gheyn, 
Pieter Bailly, father of the painter David Bailly, Bartolomeus 
Dolendo, and Willem van Swanenburch, the brother of Rembrandt's 
master. It is possible that, while at Amsterdam, Rembrandt may 
have met a brother of Lastman's, who was an engraver of some 
ability, and have received instruction from him. We may add 
that Rembrandt was no solitary experimentalist in his native town 
at the period of these early essays. Several young men shared 
his studies, copying from the same models, attempting the same 
effects of chiaroscuro, and even imitating his methods of execution. 
Of this we have ample and decisive proofs, which throw valuable 
light on the career of the young artist. 

"^ I vol. i2mo. Hachette, 1S69, p. 104. 




REMBRANDT WITH HAGGARD EVES. 

1630 (B. 320). 







LANDSCAPE WITH A FLOCK OF SHEEP. 
1650 (B. 224). 



CHAPTER III 




remhbandt's painted and engraved portraits ok his father and mother — 

STUDIES made in COMMON WITH HIS FELLOW-STUDENTS 'LOT AND HIS DAUGHTERS,' 

'the BAPTISM OF THE EUNUCH,' ' ST. JEROME AT PRAYER ' REMBRANDT'S FIRST 

PURCHASES OF WORKS OF ART. 

THE most intimate among Rembrandt's 
youthful friends was Jan Lievens. 
They were almost of the same age, and 
were further drawn together by community of 
tastes. Lievens, like Rembrandt, had returned 
from Eastman's studio to his parents' home at 
Leyden. Eike Rembrandt, he was now in 
search of his vocation, a search he in fact 
pursued throughout his life, without any striking 
development of originality, for the sojourn he 
afterwards made in England brought him under 
the influence of Vand)ck. For the moment, 
however, working side by side with Rembrandt, and from the same 
models, he busied himself with those studies of light the effects of 
which are to be traced in many of his pictures and etchings at this 
period. 

A fellow-citizen of Rembrandt and of Lievens, their junior by 
some six or seven years, was soon to join them in their studies. 
This was no other than Gerard Dou, whose presence in such 
company is surprising enough. No less likely fellow-student can 
well be imagined for Rembrandt than this master, judging merely 
by the special bent of his talent, his elaborate execution and 
minute finish. But his early works fully bear out the very explicit 
statements of Houbraken, which were taken in the main from Orlcrs 
himself. Gerard Dou was the son of a glazier named Douwe 



REMBRANDT S MOTHER. 

1628 (B. 352). 



,o REMBRANDT 

fansz, and was born at Leyden, April 7, 1613. His artistic vocation 
was recognised at a very early age, and he was placed under the 
engraver" B. Dolendo, with whom he remained for a year and a 
half. He then passed to the atelier of a glass-painter, one Pieter 
KoLiwenhorn, where he spent at least two years. His father then 
took him into his own workshop, meaning to make him a partner in 
the business; but, seeing the imprudences he committed in the exercise 
of the trade, the elder Dou became alarmed, and, dreading some 
accident, gave him leave to return to his painting. The fact that 
he made choice of Rembrandt for his master is significant, and 
shows the consideration already enjoyed by the latter in his native 
town, in spite of his extreme youth. Gerard Dou entered his 
studio February 14, 1628, and remained with him till 1631, about 
three years.* 

Another artist came to complete the circle at about the same 
period, the engraver Joris van Vliet. Van Vliet's productions were 
very unequal, and their average of merit was not high. When left to 
himself, his work was coarse and brutal, utterly wanting in taste, and 
sometimes positively ludicrous. But, living in community with Rem- 
brandt, he reproduced many of the master's studies and pictures, and 
we owe to him our knowledge of several works which have disappeared, 
and exist only in his engravings. 

Rembrandt was the life and soul of this busy, eager group, 
which, as we shall see, found the most patient of models among 
the inmates of his father's house. Their studies have opened the 
family circle to us, and enable us to become familiar with several 
of its members. 

The two first etchings which Rembrandt dated belong to the year 
1628, and are signed with what was then his usual monogram. They 
are both portraits of his mother (B. Nos. 352 and 354), a woman of 
placid and venerable mien. Her hair is drawn back from a wide 
forehead lined with many wrinkles ; from beneath brows thick and 
prominent as her son's, the shrewd and kindly eyes meet those of the 
spectator with an expression denoting much natural benevolence and 
a deep knowledge of life. We meet her again in two drawings in the 
Dresden Cabinet, and in three etchings, all of which may be, w^e think, 
referred to 1631, the date on two among them. In the first (B. 343) 
the old lady sits before a table, her little wrinkled hands crossed upon 
her breast. She wears a black veil on her head, and a black mantle 
round her shoulders. The widow's garb, the contemplative attitude, 
proclaim the subject of her meditation. She is thinking, no doubt, 
of one who is no more, of that faithful companion through good days 
and evil, the husband she lost the year before, and buried in the 
family grave in St. Peter's Church, April 27, 1630. Here the por- 
traiture is very exact. The son, already his mother's pride, has 
brought all his care and tenderness to bear upon his work, and shows 

^ This date, which is given by Houbraken, confirms the notion that Rembrandt's 
sojourn in Leyden was longer than was formerly supposed. 



PORTRAITS OF REMBRANDT'S MOTHER 



31 



an evident solicitude as to the likeness. She sat again in the same 
year, probably a few months later. This time the result was a freer 
study. She is stouter, and more wrinkled. Her costume is an 
Oriental robe : a scarf is twisted turban-wise round her head, the ends 
falling on her shoulders (B. 348). Two other studies, for which she 
also sat, follow at short intervals. In one, dating from about 1633, she 
is represented in her widow's dress again (B. 344). The other is 
dated 1633 (B. 351), and was probably executed during a visit of the 
mother to the son at Am- 
sterdam, or of the son to 
the mother at Leyden. 

Painted portraits of his 
mother are no less numer- 
ous. The first we shall 
notice is that acquired by 
the Ryksmuseum in 18S9, 
a naive study, slightly 
awkward in execution, 
dating probably from 
about 1627 — 1628. The 
sitter wears a fur cap, 
over which is passed a 
white pleated scarf, striped 
with narrow pink lines ; 
her jacket of soft blue 
harmonises well with its 
border of tawny fur. She 
holds the book in her 
hand up to her eyes. It 
is a Bible open at St. 
Luke's Gospel. The timid- 
ity of a pupil lately set 
free from Lastman's studio 
is evident. But in such 
details as the minute 
gradations of the white 

pages, the delicate transparency of the half-tones, the wrinkles 
of the forehead and hand, carefully rendered, line by line, we 
recognise the conscientious reverence underlying a labour ot \o\c. 
The next in order are the two portraits at Windsor Castle and at 
Wilton House. They are a little later, and were probal)ly painted 
about 1629 — 1630. The colouring in both is gray and pale, but 
the handling is more skilful, and the greenish blues and pale 
violets make up a delicate harmony. The portrait in the Olden- 
burg Museum (No. 166 in the Catalogue) is more important. It 
was" bought at the Pommersfelden sale in 1867, and bears the 
well-known monogram, and the date 1631. This picture was 
formerly known as A?i?m the Prophetess. Rembrandt has painted 




KKMBRANDTS FATHER. 

(By GcrarJ Don, Cassel Museum.) 



3= 



REMBRANDT 



his mother in an Eastern dress, seated, and reading attentively 
from a large book on her lap. On her head is a broad-brimmed 
violet hat of fantastic shape, bordered with gold, and fastened across 
with a scarf. Her ample robe of purplish red velvet is worn over 
a dress of pale yellow. A white coif hides her hair, after the 
fashion then prevalent among Jewish women. A mild light glances 
on the border of the robe, the top of the hat, the book, and the 
hand resting upon it, in which every wrinkle is carefully reproduced. 
The relation of this cold light to the coloured shadows is rendered 
with absolute truth, and the deep purple of the mantle forms a 

beautiful harmony with 
the gray tints of the fur, 
and of the neutral back- 
ground against which the 
figure is set. 

A reversed plate of 
this portrait was engraved 
by Van Vliet (B. i8), and 
Lievens gives a free ren- 
derinof of the features in 
two etchings (B. Nos. 30 
and 40), in neither of 
which, however, has he 
been very careful to pre- 
serve the likeness. Gerard 
Dou, on the other hand, 
has drawn her with all his 
accustomed precision : in 
six of his pictures at least 
we recognise the old lady 
at a glance. One of these 
is in the Louvre, the 
Reading Woman ( N o. 2 3 5 6 
in the new Catalogue) ; 
two in the Dresden 
Museum (Kos. 17 19 and 
1720); another at Berlin (No. 847); a fifth in the Schwerin 
Museum (No. 326), the Woman with the Spinning-iuheel ; and the 
last, of which we shall have more to say presently, in the Cassel 
Museum (No. 234). 

Bearing in mind Rembrandt's practice of taking his models 
from members of the household, we naturally look for numerous por- 
traits of his father among his works. But down to the present time 
their identification has been based merely on hypotheses more or less 
plausible. 

Not long ago, Mr. Middleton-Wake, who has made a special study 
of Rembrandt's etched work, gave it as his opinion that Rembrandt's 
father was probably the original of the Old Man luitli a long 




KEMBRANDT S FATHER. 

(Mr. Chamberlain, of Brighton.) 




Printi^d by Droecjer & Lesieiu'. Paris 



PORTRAITS OF REMBRANDT'S FATHER 



33 



beard and fur-trimincd cap (B. 262), one of the best of the early 
plates. In my attempts to classify the studies executed by Rembrandt 
and his friends at this period, I was struck by the frequent appear- 
ance of a very characteristic type, which recurs no less than nine 
times among the master's engraved works, not to speak of three 
heads scratched upon a single plate (B. 374). The nine are the 
following in Bartsch's catalogue : Nos. 262, 286, 287, 292, 293, 294, 
304, 321, and 324. With the exception of the two Oriental Heads 
comprised in this list (Nos. 286, 287), the same type somewhat 
more freely treated, all 
these prints, save one 
(B, 263), are signed with 
the monogram so often 
referred to, and dated 
1630. The apparent ex- 
ception may possibly be- 
long to this same year, 
for the date, 1631, figures 
on the second state only. 
They were therefore all 
executed before the death 
of Rembrandt's father.^ 

Besides these etchings, 
I know of eleven paintings 
executed at this period, 
all from the same model. 
They represent a bald- 
headed old man, with a 
thin lace, lonQ- nose, briQ;ht 
eyes, full and rather red 
eyelids, thin compressed 
lips, a moustache turned 
up at the ends, a short 
beard, and a small mole 
on the chin. The con- 
stant recurrence of this 
type, the fact that Rem- 
brandt painted him more than once in the steel gorget and accoutre- 
ments which he himself wears in the Hague portrait, and various 
minor indications, seemed to me strong evidences that the sitter was 
Rembrandt's father. J\Iy conjecture was soon fully confirmed. During 
my last visit to the Cassel Gallery, I noticed a pair of small portraits by 

1 We have, moreover, proof positive that a portrait of Rcnibrandl's fatlicr was inckidcd 
among these etchings. A complete hst of the plates figures in an inventory of the elfects 
of Clement de Jonghe, dated February 11, 1679, the titles given being those by which 
the etchings were known shortly after the death of Rembrandt. No 53 in the list is 
catalogued, Keinbraiidfs Father {^Oud- Holland, viii. p. 181). In the inventory of one 
Sybout van Caerdecamp, dated Leyden, February 23, i6.|4, mention is also made of 
'•A For trait of Alynheer Revibraiidf s Father.' 

D 




KEMBUANUT S MOTHLX. 

(Dr. Bredius.) 



34 REMBRANDT 

Gerard Dou, They are ovals, of exactly the same size (9;- x 7^ 
inches), and obviously represent a husband and wife. The female 
portrait is unquestionably Rembrandt's mother ; and in the male 
portrait I recognised the type so familiar to me in the plates above 
mentioned. 

Shortly afterwards, my presumption was further strengthened by 
two other small portraits, this time the work of Rembrandt himself. 
One was that portrait of the artist's mother, recently acquired by my 
friend Dr. Bredius at Rotterdam, which appeared at the Exhibition 
of Old Masters held at the Hague during the summer of 1S90. The 
other was a little panel, precisely similar in dimensions and execution, 
which, to my great surprise, I discovered a few weeks later in the 
Nantes Museum, where it is ascribed to Van Vliet. At a elance I 
identified the type with that of Rembrandt's father, as known to me 
in the etchings, and in Gerard Dou's portrait at Cassel.-^ 

The portrait of Rembrandt's father in the Ryksmuseum, probably 
painted about 1629, bears a forged signature, to which the date 1641 
has been clumsily added. It is, in fact, as Dr. Bode discovered not 
long ago, a copy of an original by Rembrandt, in the possession of 
Mr. Cliamberlain at Brighton. In Mr. Chamberlain's most interest- 
ing picture the modelling is elaborately carried out in an impasto, 
not very fat, but of sufficient consistency, and the high lights are 
rendered with consummate boldness and precision. The yellowish 
carnations are relieved against a plain background of gray-green, 
the shadows are very simply treated, without apparent detail, 
and are somevvhat dingy in tone. But the accurate drawing, the 
delicate gradation, the absolute sincerity of expression, bear witness 
to a profoundly conscientious study of the living model. Notwith- 
standing his evident anxiety to make the likeness as perfect as 
possible, Rembrandt amused himself by disguising his sitter in a 
military costume. The honest miller wears a black headgear sur- 
mounted by a large red feather ; a red mantle is thrown over his 
gray coat, a steel gorget clasps his neck. To complete the illusion, 
he has given his moustaches a fierce upward twirl. Thus equipped, 
he might be taken for some heroic survivor of the great struggle. 

The artist, pleased with the conception, repeated it with very 
slight variations in a portrait now at the Hermitage (No. 814), painted 
about 1630, and signed with the monogram. He shows us the same 
leatures, the same pose, almost the same costume. Two plumes 
adorn the cap, a black and yellow scarf is drawn over the gorget, 
the costume is further enriched by pearl ear-rings and a heavy gold 
chain, trom which hangs a medallion with a cross in relief. The 
portrait is better preserved than that at Amsterdam, and has the 

I A reijhca of the Nantes portrait, mentioned by M. Durand-Greville, is in the Tours 
Museum. It is probably an early copy, made perhaps in Rembrandt's studio. The 
touch is coarser and clumsier than in Dr. JJredius's panel, or that at Nantes, and an 
awkward pentainmto on the right cheek puts the ascription to Rembrandt himself out of 
court. 



PORTRAIT OF REMBRANDT'S FATHER 35 

same subtlety of execution. The grays are colder, their gradations 
more refined, and the shadows are more transparent. The type 
reappears in two pictures mentioned by Dr. Bode in his study' on 
TJie Rembrandts of the Liechtenstein Gallery, published in the 
GrapJiischen Kitnste. One, almost a replica of the example in the 
Ryksmuseum, came from the sale of the Beresford-Hope collection 
in 1887 ; the other, a smaller picture, was in the possession of Mr. 
Martin Colnaghi at about the same period. Mr. Hofstede de Grote 
calls my attention to a third example, in the Pommersfelden collection, 
ascribed to Gerard Dou, and Dr. Bredius to a fourth belonging to 
Mr. Humphry Ward, the latter almost an exact reproduction of the 
etching of 1635, First Oriental Head (B. 286).^ Another of Rem- 
brandt's etchings, incorrectly described by Bartsch as Philo the 
Jezu (B. 321), bears an unmistakable likeness to a little panel which 
passed from the Tschager collection to the Innsbruck Museum. 
Both are, in fact, portraits of Rembrandt's father, and bear the 
usual signature, with the date 1630. Yet another, and certainly one 
of the best of these portraits of Rembrandt's father, I saw not 
long ago in the studio of M. Zorn, the well-known Swedish painter.- 
This again is almost an exact reproduction (reversed) of one of the 
etchings, the Alan' s Head, full face, signed with the monogram, and 
dated 1630 (B. 304). The sitter wears the same headdress, a black 
velvet skullcap ; the same costume, a reddish brown robe bordered 
with fur, relieved by a strip of white collar. The features are the 
same, and reproduced with great exactness ; the eyes, encircled by 
red lines, have the same piercing expression. The figure is a 
bust, rather less than life-size, seen three-quarters in profile ; the 
light, falling upon it from the left, leaves the right side completely 
in shadow. The frank and dexterous modelling is carried out in a 
rich impasto, handled with great delicacy and knowledge of form ; the 
treatment of the brown fur, gray beard, and moustache is very spirited ; 
and the neutral gray of the shadows throws the brilliant lights into 
stronof relief^ In M. Habich's remarkal^le collection at Cassel ■* there 
is a head of the same person, almost life-size, modelled with ex- 
traordinary mastery. The composition is broader in this example, and 
the impasto more loaded. We may close the list with an oval panel 
in the Rotterdam Museum, nearly life-size (2S|x22-^ inches), in 
which we note the same thin face, the same pale complexion, the same 
piercing eyes and wrinkled throat. In this example the head-dress 
is Oriental in style, a scarf being twisted turban-wise beneath the 
black biretta. The picture (No. 353) is catalogued as the work, 
not of Rembrandt, but of Joris van Vliet, who, as far as we know, 

^ Mr. Hufuphry Ward tells me this picture is his no longer. It 7>.\xs taken from 
him ^'- in part exchangi'' by M. Sedelmeyer. — F. W. 

- This picture has since been bought by Dr. Bredius. 

"^ The skullcap was an afterthought, added, no doubt, to conceal the bald head, and 
the impasto beneath is very apparent. 

^ Now dispersed. 



36 



REMBRANDT 



was not a painter; but the initial R, and part of a date .63. 
(i6;o) are decipherable in the background. 

The attribution of this picture, and of the little panel at Nantes, 
to Van Vliet, is explained by the fact that a reproduction of the 
former is found among the engraver's works (B. 24), and that the 
same model reappears in another of Van Vliet's plates (B. 20). 
He also figures repeatedly in the works of Lievens (B. 32 and 
--) and i? introduced among the spectators to the left of the 
composition, in a Raising of Lazarus by that master (B. 3). The 

head by Gerard Dou in 
the Cassel Museum, al- 
ready mentioned, was 
evidently painted in 
Rembrandt's studio, and 
under his supervision, 
for the arrangement and 
costume are identical 
with those of the por- 
traits in the Ryksmuseum 
and the Hermitage, save 
that the feather in the 
black head-dress is blue, 
and that a blue scarf is 
knotted across the steel 
gorget. Gerard Dou 
made further use of the 
type for the operator in 
his picture of The Dentist 
in the Louvre.^ 

It is natural to suppose 
that those studies of 
himself, where Rem- 
brandt was both painter 
and model, were made 
in private. We find no 
trace of them in the 
ccuvre of his fellow-workers of this period. It was not till later, in 1634, 
that Van Vliet reproduced the little portrait of Rembrandt in the Cassel 
Museum. His plate is a reversed copy, marked by the somewhat 
truculent vigour that characterises his work. In an early picture, now 
in Sir Francis Cook's collection at Richmond, Gerard Dou represented 
his master with palette and maul-stick, putting the finishing touches to a 
work on the easel before him. Rembrandt, in his turn, painted a portrait 
of Gerard Dou, if, as we believe, Dou was his model for the head 
of a beardless youth in the Windsor collection, signed with his initials, 
and dated 1631. Be this as it may, the sitter was evidently an 
intimate of the household, to judge by the fanciful costume with 
^ Rembrandt's father was also the model for the Money -Changer at Ikiiin. 




LOT AND HIS DAUGHTERS. 

(tngraved by Van Vliet, in 1631, after a picture by Rembrandt.) 



REMBRANDT'S FELLOW-WORKERS 



which Rembrandt bedecked him — a turban formed of a scarf 
entwined with pearls, a doublet with gold-embroidered collar, and a 
long chain set with precious stones. The light falls full on the face, 
where the loaded impasto of the high tones is opposed to very- 
transparent shadows. The features and apparent age of the sitter 
alike point to Gerard Dou. 

Other models sat for Rembrandt and Lievens who must have been 
members of their circle. Among these is an old man frequently 
painted by Lievens, 
of whose head Rem- 
brandt made several 
drawings, and who was 
the subject of various 
plates in 1630 and 1631 
(B. Nos. 260, 290, 291, 
309, 315, and 325). The 
master introduced this 
person, probably a re- 
lative of his own, in 
several of his pictures, 
such as the Lot and his 
Daughters and the 
Baptism of the EiLuuch. 
He was also the model 
for one of the Philoso- 
phej^s in the Louvre. 
Other types of which 
both artists made use for 
their work with the 
graver were : a vener- 
able-looking old woman 
(Rembrandt : B. Nos. 
354 and 358 to 360 ; 
Lievens: B. No. 55), and 
a man from whom Rem- 
brandt painted the phy- 
sician in his Death of the Viro-in (B. 305), and who also appears in a 
plate by Lievens (B. 50). 

The list might be further extended, but we have sufficiently shown 
how numerous were the studies made in common. Among the band 
of fellow-workers, Rembrandt and Lievens were the two whose 
affinities were strongest. Both were studious, imaginative, bent on 
high achievements in their art. They had shown a like precocity, a 
like industry ; and Houbraken, whose testimony as to Rembrandt's 
ardour we have already quoted, further records that Lievens, on his 
return to his native city, set to work " with such zeal and success 
that connoisseurs were amazed at his talent." From a comparison ot 
their works at this period, we learn that they not only worked together 




REMnRANUT'S FATIIEU. 

(Habich Collection, Cassel.) 



3S REMBRANDT 

from the same model, but often treated the same subjects, each en- 
deavouring to solve the same problem of chiaroscuro or technique. 
Thus, in several studies of heads painted by Lievens at this time, we 
find him drawing the hair or beard in the moist paint with the butt-end 
of the brush, after the manner of Rembrandt. 

Rembrandt's relations with Gerard Dou had less of familiarity and 
equality. He was Dou's senior, and his master ; the pupil listened 
respectfully to his instructions, inclining more and more, however, to 
that minute finish which gradually became his chief preoccupation. 
But in these early days he had not lost all breadth in his handling, and 
he was a conscientious student of his craft. Van Vliet was greatly 
inferior to all three. He was an engraver exclusively; and when he 
attempted to create, he showed an abnormal heaviness, vulgarity, 
inaccuracv, and lack of taste. He was a mere bunqflinof imitator of 
his contemporaries, and of his translations it may truly be said that 
they were so many treasons against his friends. Incompetent as 
he was, however, we owe something to the industry with which he 
reproduced and disseminated the works of Lievens and Rembrandt. 
He engraved several of Lievens' pictures, among others a Jacob and 
Esau and a Susanna. We are further indebted to him for our 
knowledge of several lost works of Rembrandt's. Among certain 
studies of heads engraved by Van Vliet which bear Rembrandt's 
monogram with the legend inventor, we may instance one of a man 
(B. 2i) laughing immoderately, and grimacing in a very inelegant 
fashion,^ a Jllan in Distress (B. 22), of which we shall have more 
to say presently, a Bust of an Old Man (B. 23), &c. Van Vliet's 
etchings have further preserved several more important works, all 
other traces of which have disappeared. The interpreter's limitations 
make it impossible to appreciate the original beauties of execution ; 
coarse as these reproductions are, however, they give some idea of 
style and composition, and thus have a certain claim to respect. 

Three of these engravings are dated 1631, whence we may 
conclude that the orioinals were earlier bv some little time. The 
mexperience displayed in their composition confirms this hypothesis. 
It is difficult to feel any very deep regret for the loss of Lot and 
/lis Daughters. The subject, though much in vogue at the time 
both in Holland and Flanders, is a revoltino- one, and was little 

11 • • o ' 

suited to the genius of the painter, who rarely attempted such 
themes, and was never consi)icuously successful in their treatment, 
even in his best days. He shows commendable reticence in dealin:»- 
with tne unsavoury episode. Lot's daughters, two brazen wenches, 
are busily plying the old man with drink. He, brandishing the 
goblet he has just drained, sings lustily, his mouth wide open, 
his eyes half closed, with an air of great animation. Through the 
opening of the cave in which the fugitives have taken refuge, 
bearing with them one or two cherished possessions, the fiames of 
Sodom are seen in the distance, and the outline of Lot's wife as 
' This model is also bedizened with the steel "orcrct so often mentioned. 



BAPTISM OF THE EUNUCH 



39 



a pillar of salt. There Is nothing very attractive in all this, 
and Van Vliet's reproduction no doubt exagorerates the vulgarity 
of the scene. A drawing by Rembrandt in the British Museum, very 
skilfully executed in red chalk, gives a better idea of the subject. 

The Baptism of the Etimich was another incident greatlv in favour 
with the painters of the day. Lastman, not to mention many others, 
had twice painted it (Berlin Museum, No. 677 ; and Mannheim Museum, 
No. 113). It was a subject specially congenial to the Italianisers 
— one in which they were able, under pretext of local colour, to 
heap on all the gorgeous accessories of the Oriental convention thev 
loved. Rembrandt was no whit behind them in this respect ; he even 
borrowed several details from his predecessors. The laborious care 
bestowed on the mise-en-scene is manifest in the splendid trappino-s of 
the car, the rich dresses of the servants, the attire of the convert and 
his guards, the rank luxuriance of gourds and thisdes in the fore- 
ground. The figures of the Ethiopian kneeling beside the pool, 
the apostle pouring water on his head, and the cavalier above 
them, are arranged in a perpendicular line, the effect of which 
is disastrous to the composition. The attitude of the horseman, 
and the thick legs, huge neck, and extraordinary head of his 
charger are no less grotesque. The sole elements of congruitv 
are found in the saintly gravity of Philip, and the reverent piety 
of the eunuch. Some idea of the colour and execution of this 
picture may be gathered from several old copies, one of which 
belonged to Mr. Graham, of London, another to the Schwerin 
Museum (No. 856 in the Catalogue). Dr. Bode is even inclined 
to accept a replica in the Oldenburg Museum (No. 179 in the 
Catalogue) as the original. In the Oldenburg example the com- 
position is reversed, whereas in the above copies it agrees with \'an 
Vliet's engraving (B. 12). But this is really a presumption in favour 
of Its authenticity, for Van Vliet never took the trouble to reverse the 
drawings he made for reproduction. There are notable differences, 
however, between the Oldenburg and Schwerin pictures, and between 
these and the engraving. The perfunctory execution of the Oldenburg 
example, its crudity of colour, the disregard for harmony shown in its 
medley of blues, greens, reds and yellow, make us loth to accept an 
attribution which, in any case, does little honour to Rembrandt.^ 

We may add that he returns to the subject in 1641, for one of his 
etchings (B. 98), in which he introduces several details of the earlier 
work. Without eliminating the fantastic clement altogether, he 
successfully modifies the composition by a freer and more picturesque 
arrangement, and is careful to preserve the expressions of the apostle 
and the eunuch. 

As far as we can judge from Van Vliet's engravings, the J nipt ism 
of t/ic Eunuch and the Lot and his Daughters were jjainted at the 

^ Another vcifiiou of tlie Baptism of t lie Eioiin/i, funuciiy in the Moccnigo Gallery at 
Venice, now in Count Tolstoi's collection at Odessa, once ])assed for the original. Mr. 
Somoff, Director of the Hermitage, kindly informs me that this so-called replica is a copy. 



REMBRANDT 



outset of Rembrandt's career, about 1628 — 1629. Both show marked 
analoo-ies with the ScDnson and Delilah of 1628. The St. Jei'oiue at 
Pranr was no doubt later ; the execution is freer and more dehcate ; 
before painting the picture, Renibrandt made a careful study of the 
kneeling saint in a beautiful red chalk drawing, now in the Louvre. ^ 
The hermit, prostrate before a crucifix, is absorbed in prayer. A 
brilliant light falls upon his figure. Some books, an hour-glass, a mat, 
a gourd, and a cardinal's hat are placed beside him. To the right, an 
animal with a curious head, more like a huge cat than a lion, crouches 
at his feet. A vine laden with grapes, springing from amidst a cluster 
of thistles in the background, spreads its tendrils along the brick wall 
of the cell. Van Vliet's etching, the best of all his works, attests the 
minute hnish of the original, especially in the numerous accessories. 
We recognise the master of Gerard Dou in this picture, and the 

affiliation is formally demonstrated 
by a Hei'mit in the Dresden Gal- 
lery (No. 171 in the Catalogue). 
The pupil here reproduces the 
St. Jerome almost exactly, content- 
ing himself with a slight modifica- 
tion of the pose and type. Re- 
fining upon his master's lessons, 
Dou has carried elaboration to its 
extremest limit. In the Dresden 
picture, each strand of the mat is 
separately painted ; the minute 
veinings of the bluish thistle 
foliage, along which a snail has 
left its silvery track, are carefully 
noted, and the wings of a tiny 
butterfly that has strayed into the 
cave are gay with innumerable 
tints. The harsh cold colour 
adds to the dryness of the pitiless 
execution, and brings out the poverty of all this detail, on which Dou 
dwells with a satisfaction that challenges admiration of his patient 
puerility. What was a mere means for the careful study of nature 
with the master has become the essential element of the pupil's art. 

W e may form some idea of the St. Jei'-ome from a fine work in 
excellent condition belonging to Count S. Stroganoff of St. Petersburg. 
It bears Rembrandt's monogram, and the date 1630. The subject is 
somewhat enigmatical. We recognise the same old man with the 
white beard who figures in the Lot and his Daughters, and in so many 
ot the young master's plates. As in the Lot, the scene is a cave ; on 
the horizon is a town in tlames, with monuments, a great staircase, the 

1 Here again the drawing shows that Van VHet's plate reverses the composition. An 
early copy of the St. Jerome, bought by the Berlin Gallery in the Sucrmondt collection, 
has been passed on to the Museum of Aix-la Chnpellc. 




REMBRANDT S FATHER. 

1630 (B. 229). 




Sludy for t/ic '' Saiiil Jerome'^ (i6:;r). 

Ked ami Black Chalk. 



OTHER PICTURES OF THAT EPOCH 



41 



outline of a domed temple, and, in the middle distance, houses, from 
which the inhabitants are flyinor at their utmost speed. But in place of 
the jovial old wine-bidder of the former picture, we have a venerable 




i;.\rii?..M uf niii EUNUCH. 
(Engraved by J. van Vliet, in 1631, after a picture by Rcnibrancit.) 

man, sitting in meditative solitude. By his side arc vnrlous costly 
possessions, which he has no doubt snatched from imminent pillage — 
a purple velvet cover embroidered with gold, and a golden bowl and 
ewer richly chased. He seems to have fled in haste, for his feet are 



42 REMBRANDT 

bare. Resting his head on his right hand, he sits lost in thought, 
uncertain how to act. His left hand is laid on a large folio, which 
Rembrandt takes care to inform us is the Bible. The episode is there- 
fore taken from the Scriptures ; but what is it, and who is the person 
represented ? Like Dr. Bode, we must be content to ask the ques- 
tion, without offering a solution. The picture is a very attractive one, 
and the problematical nature of the theme adds to its interest The 
impasto is moderately fat in the lights, the touch precise and mellow, 
light and easy, the colour most harmonious. The delicately modelled 
head of the old man is full of expression, and the neutral lilac tones of 
his furred robe are well attuned to the pale green of his tunic. These 
cool tones relieve the russet tints of the grotto walls with its climbing 
plants, and the general harmony is full of distinction. A drav/ing in red 
chalk at the Hermitage shows that Rembrandt made careful preparation 
for this picture. It is marked by the same easy elegance that distin- 
guishes the S/. Jerome drawing, and belongs to about the same period. 

Landscape, as we have seen, plays but a secondary part in the 
works of Rembrandt so far. The picture in which it has figured 
most prominently hitherto is the Baptism of the Eiinuc/i, where its 
feebleness certainly betrays the inadequacy of the master's know- 
ledge. The plants in the foreground are taken from separate 
studies of their various species, and grouped together in a manner 
far from convincing. They are excrescences in the composition, 
and add but little to its beauty. Rembrandt, who was anxious to 
utilise these studies, introduces them again, with even less propriety, 
in his St. Jerome. But he probably recognised their incongruity, 
and his own ineptitude for their successful treatment as yet, and so 
abandoned them, for a time at least. Accustomed to depend on 
Nature for his inspiration, he needed her guidance at every turn, 
and was lost without her. When he attempted to stand alone, he 
had little reason to pride himself on the result. At a later period 
he made elaborate studies of lions in every variety of attitude, 
but his powers were severely taxed in the rendering of St. Jerome s 
attendant beast. He never specially distinguished himself in the 
painting of horses; but neither did he ever render them with such 
grotesque absurdity as in the Baptism of the Eunuch. It was 
essential to him to have his models ahvays at hand, as far as possible, 
and as, after the fashion of the day, he loved Oriental themes, he 
tried to surround himself with the accessories on which he relied for 
local colour. His slender earnings were expended in their purchase ; 
the collector's passion, no less than the desire for aids to his art, im- 
pelled him to add perpetually to his collections. He loved to adorn 
his Scriptural models with gewgaws from his wardrobes, and to 
lurnish the interiors in which he set them from his own store-rooms. 

From this time forward, we shall repeatedly find in his pictures 
and etchings, and in those of his fellow-workers, accessories he had 
collected for use in the studio. Rich stuffs, gaily coloured scarves, 
a velvet cover embroidered with gold, a fur-lined mantle ; or, again, 
arms, a helmet, a shield, a huge two-handed sword, a quiver, a 



" Sahif fcromc " 

Facsiurilc of [oris van I'/iefs Enora^'iiiQ^ ( i6j;i ) 

after l/ic Picture i>y Reuibraiutt, 



FIRST PURCHASES OF OBJECTS OF ART 



43 



Javanese dagger, and the steel gorget we have so often mentioned ; 
or jewels, perhaps, and plate ; a metal bowl and ewer, pearl ear-rings, 
bracelets, gold chains which he throws round the necks of models, 
or with which he fastens the plumes of their head-dresses. There are 
other articles too, less striking but not less useful ; the mat, the rosarv. 
the gourd and the hour-glass of SL Jerome s cell — the folios and parch- 
ments of St. Paul's dungeon, and of the Money-Changer s den. 

With such accessories, as Dr. Bredius tells us, Rembrandt 
composed studies of still-life, something after the manner of those 
pieces technically known as Vanitas, which artists like Jan Davidsz 
de Heem and Pieter Potter were then painting in Leyden. The 
sober harmonies of such works pleased the men of letters, who 
hung them in their libraries. Rembrandt certainly painted some 
of these. We learn from Gerard Hoet's catalogues that at a sale 
which took place at Amsterdam, May ii, 1756, a Vanitas by 
Rembrandt — with a death's head, a globe and books — was sold for 
thirty-one florins. Eager for knowledge, the young painter also, 
no doubt, began to buy prints — those of Lucas van Leyden, for 
instance — and sets of Oriental costumes and landscapes, to serve 
him in his quest after local colour. It seems even more probable 
that he now acquired various pictures by living masters of Leyden. 
for in his inventory we shall find three works by J. Pynas, a grisaille 
by Simon de Vlieger, several landscapes by Jan Percellis, who had 
lately retired to Soeterwoede, near Leyden, where he died soon 
afterwards (1633), and a sea-piece by Percellis's brother-in-law, H. 
van Anthonissen. Such pictures were of no great value, and it was 
possible to buy them for a few florins, either from the dealers or 
at public auction. Rembrandt perhaps had friends among these 
artists. He may also have made the acquaintance of a landscape- 
painter more famous than any of these, one who may well have 
attracted him by a sincerity equal to his own, and a kindred pre- 
occupation with the problems of chiaroscuro. \'^an Goycn paid a 
visit to Leyden in 1631, and is very likely to have met his young 
confrere in the Swanenburch circle, having been himself the pu]>;l 
of Isaac, the father of Rembrandt's first master. 




C:.I> MAN WITH A LONG UEAKU. 

163 1 (U. a6o). 




" r. — -- — -■r^.L-n-.TTT--3«:^'©=--'^ 







PKN DRAWING HEIGHTENEn WITH WASH. 

(Diike of Devonshire's Collection ) 



CHAPTER TV 



REMBRANDTS PRECOCIOUS FAME — HUYGENS'S ACCOUNT THEREOF--THE PICTURE OF 
' JUDAS ' — ETCHINGS OF THIS PERIOD: 'THE BEGGARS,' ' SAINT ANASTASIUS,' THE 
'PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE,' AND THE 'HOLY FAMILY,' 1631 — REMBRANDT 
RESOLVES TO SETTLE AT AMSTERDAM — THE INFLUENCE OF HIS LIFE AT LEYDEN 
ON HIS DEVELOPMENT. 




P 



A r.IGCAK, STANDING. 

About 1631 (B. 169). 



AT RONS of art were fairly numerous in 
Holland at this period. The recent 
publication of a series of notes made 
at the beginning of the seventeenth century 
by Arent van Buchel, an advocate of the 
Estates of Utrecht,^ reveals many interesting 
details concernincr the leadino- amateurs of 
Leyden (Boissens, the Burgomaster Booms, 
H. Honclius, H. Screvelius, Rector of the 
Faculty, the advocate Backer, &c.) and their 
collections, in which the Flemings and the 
earlier Dutchmen, Lucas van Leyden, Heem- 
skerck, Goltzius, C. Ketel, Bloemaert, &c., were 
largely represented. Such works must have had a special interest for 
Rembrandt, and we cannot doubt that he studied them profoundly. 
Buchel does not confine his remarks to pictures he saw at Leyden 
during the several visits he paid the city, in 1605, 1622, and 1628. 
He had diligently collected information touching the artists of his 
native country, either at first hand or through correspondents, and 
he seems to have projected a sequel to Van Mander's work. 
Among his abridged notices of contemporary painters, there is one, 
under the date of his last visit to Leyden (162S), which evidently 
relers to Rembrandt: JMolitoi'is ctiani Leidcnsis filius magni fit, sea 
ante teiupiis. In spite of the ambiguity of its Latin, the phrase 

' Arcnt van Buchcl's Res Pictoria:, by G. van Ryn {jDud Holland, v. p. 143 j. 



REMBRANDT'S PRECOCITY 45 

sufficiently attests the precocious fame of the miller's son.^ But a 
document discovered in March, 1891, not only gives full and con- 
vincing proof of Rembrandt's early celebrity, but restores to him one 
of the most important of his youthful works. 

Dr. J. A. Worp, of Groningen, while engaged on a new edition 
of the poems of C. Huygens, of which the Academy of Science at 
Amsterdam possesses several manuscripts, came upon an auto- 
biography of the poet, ranging from about 1596 to 1614, at the end of 
one of the folios. It was composed probably between 1629 and 1631, 
and is written in that elegant and somewhat subtle Latin affected by 
Dutch scholars of the period.^ In describing his education, a very 
elaborate one, Huygens enumerates the arts and sciences in which 
he had been instructed, and goes on to speak of contemporary artists 
he had known or admired in his youth. He dwells on the precocity 
of Rembrandt and of Lievens — " beardless, yet already famous " — • 
both living contradictions of that doctrine of heredity which is not, 
it would seem, so modern as we suppose, but in which Huygens 
refuses to acquiesce. " One of these two youths is the son of a mere 
artisan, an embroiderer of hangings ; the other is the son of a miller, 
but made of other flour than his father," he adds jestingly. " Such 
parentage makes their intelligence and talent seem indeed prodigious. 
Their masters were obscure and mediocre artists, for the modest 

means of their parents could afford them no better instruction 

They have become what they are by sheer force of genius, and I 
am persuaded that had they been left entirely to themselves, they 
would have attained the same excellence to which their masters are 
now mistakenly supposed to have contributed. The elder of these two 
young men, the son of the embroiderer, is called Lievens ; the miller's 
son, Rembrandt. Both are beardless, and judging from their youthful 
faces and figures, are rather boys than young men." Huygens 
considers " Rembrandt to be Lievens's superior in intelligence and 
observation ; while Lievens, on the other hand, surpasses his companion 
in a certain nobility of treatment and grandeur of form. Dwelling 
perpetually, in his youthful ardour, on the sublime and magnificent, 
he is not content with actual dimensions, and attempts the colossal. 
Rembrandt, on the contrary, by pure force of talent, achieves a 
concentration in the more restricted field he chooses, such as we 
shall seek in vain in his confre^'c s grandiose compositions. I need 
cite nothing further in proof of my statement," adds Hu\gcns, " than 
his picture oi Judas returning the Price of Betrayal to the High Priest." 
And, passing over other details of this work, the author bases his admira- 
tion on " the central figure of Judas, beside himself, bewailing his crime, 

^ Such, it seems to us, is the ];)robable interpretation of the passage, though others 
have read it somewhat differently, as implying that the young artist undertook tasks 
beyond his actual powers. ]]ut neither the dimensions of Rembrandt's works, nor 
anything he had attempted hitherto, seem to authorise such a rendering. 

- This autobiography, which consists of some one hundred and fifteen pages, is 
inserted in the volume catalogued as No. XL\TII., and entitled, yVvy,? .///-//(V?, //a/ua, 
7{ispanica, <S:c. 



46 



REMBRANDT 



imploring the pardon he dares not hope for, his face a vision of 
horror, his hair in wild disorder, his clothes rent, his arms contorted, 
his hands pressed fiercely together. Prostrate on his knees, his whole 
body seems ravaged and convulsed by his hideous despair." Huygens 
o-oes on to contrast this figure with the amenities of classic creations, 
and, in one of those oratorical flights dear to writers of his day, he 
defies Parrhasius, Apelles, the masters of all ages, to equal the 
expressive power displayed by " this Batavian, this miller, this 
stripling," and ends with an apostrophe full of the warmest encourage- 
ment to the young artist. 

The document is a significant one, coming from such a man, and 
at that date. It explains Huygens's subsequent relations with 
Rembrandt, and the numerous commissions he gave the painter, 
after his nomination to the post of secretary to Prince Frederick 
Henry. Knowing how deeply interesting his discovery would be 
to me, Mr. Worp, through the medium of our common friend. 
Dr. Bredius, immediately offered me the first-fruits of his discovery, 
a courtesy for which I here beg to thank him very heartily. He 
also inquired whether I knew the picture so highly praised by 
Huygens, all trace of which had been lost. By a curious chance, I 
had seen it two days before, in the collection of M. Haro, to whom 
it now belongs. The Rembrandtesque character of the composition, 
chiaroscuro, and types had struck me at the first glance ; but the 
want of experience betrayed in the distribution of light, and a certain 
clumsiness in the execution, would have made me hesitate to ascribe 
this work to the master, had not the figure of Judas claimed my 
attention. In this figure I recognised one I had often noticed, in 
turning over the works of Van Vliet, as bearing the inscription 
Rcjubrandt inventor, and the date 1634. The figure is reversed in 
the print, and engraved as a half-length. Referring to Bartsch's 
catalogue, where it bears the title A Man in Distress, and is num- 
bered 22, I found the following note: "The editors of Gersaint's 
catalogue state, in reference to this print, that they had seen a fine 
picture by Rembrandt, representing Judas returning the thirty pieces 
of money to the Sanhedrim, and that the, head of Judas is here re- 
produced by Van Vliet." I had therefore practically made up my 
mind as to the authenticity of the picture, when Mr. Worp's letter 
of a day later came to dispel any lingering doubts. Every detail 
of M. Haro's Judas agrees with the description given by Huygens, 
a description evidently written in the presence of the picture 
itself. Smith includes the work in his catalogue (No. 90), 
and, though he had never seen it, describes it from an engrav- 
ing made by Robert Dunkarton, the English engraver, when 
the picture was in the Fanshawe Collection.^ In spite of the 

^ Vosmaer, to whom we owe this information, had seen neither the original nor 
Dunkarton's engraving, for he supposed M. E. Gahchon's fine Rembrandt drawing of 
the same subject to be a study for the picture. It is, however, of much later date, 
and the composition is radically different. 



THE PICTURE OF "JUDAS" PRAISED BY HUYGENS 47 

blunders and corrections that strike the spectator at first sight, the 
work is a very characteristic one, and the figure of Judas justifies 
the admiration expressed by Huygens. Other dramatic features of 
this scene, a faithful transcript of the Gospel narrative, are the gesture 
of disgust with which the High Priest turns from the traitor, de- 
clining either to look at or listen to him, the indignation of the 
blue robed dignitary above him, the scorn, anger, or curiosity ex- 
pressed by the remaining spectators. Several of the accessories we 
have noted in other works by the young master reappear here : the 
embroidered mantle of the High Priest ; the cuirass inlaid with gold 
which hangs from the drapery ; the books and cover on the table, 
the intonations and somewhat laboured treatment of which mark 
the affinity between this picture and the Moncy-CJiangcr of 1627. 
Huygens's text indicates 1628 — 1630 as the date of execution ; 
he is confirmed by internal evidences such as the comparatively 
heavy and unskilful handling, the diffused light, and exaggerated 
gesture. 

It is clear from Huygens's testimony that the fame of Rembrandt 
had gradually spread among his fellow-citizens and throughout the 
neiehbourino; towns. Amateurs beo^an to visit his studio. Houbraken. 
enlivening his narrative with gossip such as biographers of the day 
considered essential to their text, relates that a connoisseur from the 
Hague, to whom he had been introduced, bought one of his pictures 
for a hundred florins, a very considerable price for the work of so 
young an artist.^ Encouraged by his first successes, Rembrandt worked 
with redoubled ardour, and the close of his sojourn at Ley den was 
marked by great productiveness. 

Rembrandt's enQraved w^ork attests this fertilitv. He etched a 
large number of plates during this period, and their diversity of subject 
gives fresh proof of his artistic curiosity. Neglecting no opportunity for 
gleaning knowledge, he found sources of interest in all about him, even 
in the most familiar scenes of humble life. The populace attracted him, 
and alike in market-place and suburb, workmen and peasants seemed 
to him worthy of his attention. Among people of low rank, manners 
are simpler, and conduct less artificial. Their gestures are franker, 
their attitudes and expressions more natural. It was among them that 
Lucas van Leyden had found his favourite models, and like his famous 
predecessor, Rembrandt never wearied of studying them. He liked 
to live among the poor, and they abounded just then in his native 
country. Perpetual wars had brought ruin to thousands, and Europe 
was infested by hordes of beggars. We shall find in Rembrandt's 
inventory, under the heading The Jo'itsa/cm of Callot, coniplclc, an 
entire set of the Lorraine engraver's works. It was he who showed 
Rembrandt the way in this branch of his art, antl, following in his 
footsteps, the Dutch master iinniortalised the beggars and vagabonds 
who swarmed throughout the land. The struggle had been long and 

1 Vosniaer, anticipating M. W'uip's discovery, remarks that the connoisseur was not 
improbably Huygens. 



48 



REMBRANDT 



bitter in the Netherlands, and the miseries that ensued were terrible. 
The title Beogars, applied elsewhere only to the dregs of the popula- 
tion, had been claimed at one time by the whole nation, and used as 
a rallvint^-crv. Seizing on the epithet hurled at them in scorn, the 
rebels had bound it to them, covering it with glory, and had added 
a porringer and wallet to their arms in honour of the name under 
which they had won their freedom. 

Holland was now free and peaceful, but distress was still wide- 
spread. The Beggars play a part as considerable in the ccuvrc of 
Rembrandt as in the history of his country. They form a category 
aoart, and the etchings he dedicated to them nearly all date from 

this period of his youth. 
The inhrm, the halt, the 
crooked, the crippled, fol- 
low one another in this 
portrait gallery of life's 
unfortunates, and the as- 
pects in which the artist 
has drawn them are so 
true, so exact, and so 
enduring that many (B. 
Nos. 163, 164, 172, 174) 
might pass for life-studies 
from the needy loafers of 
our own streets. Every 
variety of type figures in 
the collection ; the hag- 
gard and the corpulent, 
the drunken and the 
starving, the defiant and 
the lachrymose. In Cal- 
lot's plates, poverty wears 
its rao-s so Qfallantlv as 
to make them picturesque. 
In Rembrandt's, on the 
other hand, indigence has 
a less jovial mien. He painted squalor as he saw it — its abject types, 
its shapeless tatters. Later he turned these to account for the cripples 
and suHerers of every description he grouped about the healing Christ, 
amidst those crowds in which he did not shrink from the portrayal of 
every contrast and every deformity. 

It was in no spirit of revolt against academic convention that the 
young master worked ; an instinctive love of reality urged him on, 
almost unconsciously. It was a passion that led him at times into 
strange vagaries. Nothing repelled him ; and his indiscreet graver 
reproduced much that civilised man agrees to ignore, the lowest func- 
tions of poor humanity (B. 189, 190), and even, it must be admitted, 
rollicking obscenities (B. 186 to 189), depicted with Rabelaisian 




KE.MLKA.NDT i MOTHER IN AN EASlliKN HEAU-DlvESS. 

1631 (B. 348). 



THE ETCHINGS OF THIS PERIOD 



49 



freedom, and with all the fiery eagerness of youthful ^ curiosity. 
Many of his most ardent admirers have, with the best intentions, tried 
to conceal these aberrations of his genius by denying his authorship 
of works for which they are loth to hold him responsible. The 
subject is an unpleasant one, but we must not pass it over in silence. 
We cannot exculpate Rembrandt, but it must be borne in mind that a 
certain coarseness of manners and conversation was universal at the 
period, even in good society, and that this was peculiarly the case 
in Holland. We need but recall the ribald allusions, the unconscious 
cynicism, that abound in the verse of popular poets, and in the works 
of the most grave and learned writers of the age. We must not 
judge Rembrandt by the 
standard of our own days. 
If at times he offends our 
taste, we may extend the 
same indulgence to him 
as to Shakespeare, re- 
membering the unseemly 
words and outrageous jests 
the great dramatist has 
put into the mouths of his 
purest and most poetic 
heroines. Happily, these 
excesses occur in very 
few of the master's etch- 
ings, and hold an unim- 
portant place in his ceitvj^e. 
We too regret their exist- 
ence ; nor will we give 
them undue importance 
by further discussion. 

The engravings of this 
period are marked by as 
great a variety in execu- 
tion as in subject. Some- 
times the artist plays, as it 

were, with the graver, covering his plate with mere scribbles, dashed 
oft" without any preliminary sketch. At others the work is carefully 
carried out with a fine point, and marked by the utmost facility and 
knowledge of effect. To this last category belong three little plates 
(B. 48, 51, 66) representing subjects from Scripture, in which 
Rembrandt has made use of many of the popular types he had 
collected. In spite of their small proportions, they foreshadow the 
more imposing works which were soon to follow. The Prcscntalion 
in the Temple and the Jesus aniono the Doctors are both dated 1 630, 

^ Scarcely '■'' yoiit/ifit/" for three at least out of the seven " sujets libres " which Rembrandt 
executed are assigned to an even later period than that 0/ his wije's death : the '^ freest ''oj 
them — called "■ Ledikant " — is dated 1646. — /< IK 

E 




REV.BRANUTS FATHER. 

1631 (B. 263). 



JO REMBRANDT 

and the Little Circniucision must be of the same date, the dimensions 
and treatment being precisely similar. Full of extravagances and 
vuK'-arities as they are, they show a marked individuality. The 
impression of sincerity is so strong that the artist seems to have been 
an actual spectator of the scene he depicts. The subjects had been 
treated again and again. But Rembrandt, with no trace of effort or 
research, improvises features that give them a new character. Such 
creative touches are to be found in the felicitous grouping of the 
fio-ures in the Cu-nuucision, the introduction of the staircase that 
stretches away in mysterious perspective to the sanctuary in the 
Presentation, and the amazement and confusion of the Doctors before 
the little Child whose simplicity confounds their boasted learning. 

In his pictures his progress is even more strongly evidenced than 
in his etchings. The studies of heads dated 1630 show increasing 
breadth and freedom, as we note in the head of an old man with a 
white beard, wearing a black cap, and a double chain round his neck 
from which hangs a gold cross (Cassel Museum, No. 209 in the 
Catalogue). The modelling is franker, and the shadows warmer, so 
that the use of almost pure vermilion for the lines and wrinkles of 
the face produces no effect of exaggeration. Here again the hairs 
of the beard have been drawn in the paint with the butt-end of 
the brush. 

The year 1631 was marked by an advance still more decisive, and 
was one of the most prolific in Rembrandt's busy career. In the 
St. Anastasius in the Stockholm Museum (No. 579), which bears this 
date, and the signature Renibrant in microscopic characters on a 
manuscript, we recognise the old man who figures so 
repeatedly in the etchings, and who reappears a little 
9umirar.tjP-/^]f- later as one of the PJiilosophcrs in the Louvre : re- 

REMDRANDTs fitted of feature, bald and prominent of brow, with 

siGNATLRE. sttiall cves and a larofe white beard. The saint is 

seated near a window, in a lofty vaulted oratory, 
divided bv an arcade from a flaofQ-ed corridor beyond ; aL2ainst one 
of the uprights of this arcade is an altar of carved stone, and on 
it a crucifix set in a framework of small reddish marble columns 
with gilded shafts and capitals. He rests his left hand on the arm 
of his chair, and reads devoutly from a great folio on the table. 
His dress is a red skullcap and a long robe of that purple-gray 
tint so much in favour with the painter at this period. Its cool 
tones, repeated here and there in the pale sky beyond, the curtains 
ot the arcade, and the pavement of the adjoining vestibule, are 
happily contrasted witli the warm browns and yellows that pervade 
the picture. The harmony of these deliberately juxtaposed tints 
is very delicate. Contrary to the usual practice of novices, Rembrandt 
shows great reticence in his scheme of colour ; he is content with what 
is little more than monochrome, and concentrates all his skill on 
chiaroscuro. The penumbra of the more strongly illuminated surfaces 
and their reflections are rendered with absolute truth, and the execution, 



"THE PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE ' 51 

as befits the quiet tonality, is at once light and precise. The meditative 
attitude of the old man, the expression of his features, the light and 
stillness that surround him as he sits absorbed in meditation, make up 
a whole full of infinite sweetness and charm. 

In striking contrast to this is the bold and powerful effect aimed 
at in the Presentation in the Temple of the Hague Museum, sio-ncd 
with Rembrandt's monogram and dated 1631.^ It is the most 
highly finished picture of this epoch, and one of the best preserved. 
In execution and in the treatment of architecture it has marked 
analogies with the St. Anastasins, which no doubt preceded it. 
But the contrasts are franker, the colour less restrained, the lio-ht 
more concentrated. The theme is a familiar one. In the centre of 
a temple with gigantic columns, the Virgin and 
St. Joseph make their offering, and present the y^ ^ 
new-born Child before the Lord. Devoutly kneeling C^xL-^^^]^ 
on the paved floor, they Q^aze tenderly at the Infant 

, ^ rO- 1 1-11 -11 REMBRANDT'S 

m the arms 01 bimeon, also on his knees beside them. 



MONOGRAM. 



Around them are the Prophetess Anna and other per- 
sons, and in front stands the High Priest, robed in a long violet 
cope, and holding up his hands, as if in ecstasy at the scene. In the 
shadow of the steps that lead up to the sanctuary is a crowd of 
worshippers, spectators, and armed men. In the foreground to the 
right sit the doctors of the law, observant of the group. The 
impression is striking, even at a first glance, and becomes im- 
measurably stronger on closer examination, for everything combines 
to reinforce the effect — notably the distribution of the light, the 
brilliant sunshine falling in strong relief on the main group, focussed 
as it were on the radiant little face of the Infant Jesus — the vast 
proportions and majestic structure of the temple — the mysterious 
gloom, through which an uncertain light gleams here and there on the 
gilded capitals, on the decorations of the sacred vessels, and on the 
armour of the men of war ranged on the steps. 

Oriental buildings, as depicted by Rembrandt's forerunners, were 
architectural monuments of a ponderous or grotesque type. In many 
instances the master himself had been scarcely more happily 
inspired than others. But in this canvas his poetic sense of 
the picturesque is wedded to a purer and less fantastic taste. He 
is no less successful in suggesting the luxury of the East by means 
of the rich stuffs he spreads before us. The simple garb of the 
Virgin and St. Joseph, and the squalor of the two beggars beside 
them, emphasise the splendour of the High Priest, anil of Simeon, 
whose heavy cymar seems to be woven of gold and gems. The 
execution is a miracle of subtlety and skill. Note how supreme a 
colourist has been at work upon the High Priest's cope! With 
what science is the violet carried through the lights antl shadows. 

^ The panel in its original state was not semicircular at the top, as at ])rescnt. A 
piece was added to make it match a picture by Gerard Dou, T/ie Young Mother, also 
belonging to the Mauritshuis. 

E 2 



52 



REMBRANDT 



with what truth arc the tones observed and rendered, with w^hat 
scrupulous care is the general harmony preserved, in spite of the 
marvellous treatment of detail! In this work, wdiich sums up as it 
were his whole previous experience, Rembrandt shows the most 
amazing grasp of all the resources of his art. But with him this 
perfection of technique serves only to give a fuller value to his 
thoucdit, and to add significance to the expression of his chosen 
theme. Herein lies the secret of his greatness, and of his 
superiority to his rivals. Later, in the full maturity of his genius, 
he was to show a greater force and breadth, more freedom and 
spontaneity of invention, but in none of his after works did he 

conceive a figure more moving 
than this of the Virofin in its 
tender self-forgetfulness, nor one 
more venerable than the ancient 
Simeon, the embodied type of the 
sacred narrative, white-haired, 
majestic of mien, his face aglow 
wath joy and faith. The aged 
servant has seen his long-expected 
Saviour! He holds Him in his 
arms, presses Him to his heart, 
and now that his hour has come 
he can depart in peace. 

It is evident that Rembrandt 
was already familiar with the 
Scriptures. They became a source 
of perpetual inspiration to him, 
and henceforth he had no need to 
imitate the versions of Biblical 
and Gospel themes given by his 
predecessors. Studying them at 
tu'st hand, his mind was more and 
more attuned to their beauties, 
and, kindling as he read, he found 
the germs of countless subjects, 
which his creative genius reconstructed, giving them renewed vitality. 
Instinctivclv, he chose the most movino: of such scenes, shcddino; fresh 
light upon them, and dwelling, with no touch of effort, on their less 
familiar aspects. The Holy Family in the Munich Pinacothek may 
be taken as a typical instance. The Italian painters, in their treatment 
of such subjects, had ever in view a nobility of type, their conception 
of which was due, partly to the naturally high ideal of beauty proper to 
a beautiful race, partly to the ultimate destination of their works, the 
church and the altar. But Rembrandt, approaching them from a more 
intimate standpoint, dwells mainly on their profoundly human aspects. 
As pictures were banished from the reformed churches, he painted for 
the Dutch homes of his contemporaries, and was anxious to appeal to 




THE I.ITTLE CIRCUMCISIOM. 
About 1630 (15. 48). 




The Prcsfulaliou in I he Toiiplc ii6ji). 

(HAGUI-; Ml'SXL'M.) 



"THE HOLY FA-NHLY" AT MUNICH 



53 



them through feelings by which he had himself been deeply moved. 
The theme of his conception at Munich is the glorification of labour in 
an honest, industrious household. In this scene there is no question of 
Eastern splendour. The_ background is of the simplest description ; 
the carpenter's tools are displayed in his humble room, and both in type 
and costume Mary and Joseph are represented as simple working 
folks. The Babe, whom Mary has just fed from her breast, has fallen 
asleep on her lap. She holds His little naked feet in her hand, and 
Joseph, bending over 
Him, and holding his 
breath as if fearing to 
wake Him, has paused 
in his work for a moment, 
to Pfaze at the tinv crea- 
ture, the object of their 
joint love and care. 

Rembrandt seems to 
have enshrined the 
memory of his own happy 
childhood in this o^racious 
composition. The Vir- 
gin was perhaps drawn 
from his sister, or at 
least from some mem- 
ber of the household, 
for the type recurs in 
several of the master's 
other works — the small 
nose and eyes, the pale 
complexion, the fair hair 
drawn back from a hip-h 
and somewhat promi- 
nent brow. We recog- 
nise them in the Virgin 
of the Presentation, in 
one of Lot's Daughters, 
and in various other 
pictures. The same 
model seems to have sat 
for a study of a head, 

No. 591 in the Stockholm Museum, catalogued as the Portrait of a 
Young Girl, and formerly ascribed to Ferdinand Bol. I was struck by 
the likeness at the first glance, and was pleased to find my opinion 
confirmed by the learned Director of the Museum, !\Ir. Goethe, who 
classifies the work as of the " School of Rembrandt." it mio-ht even 
be attributed to the master himself with some show of probability, 
and, if indeed by him, was one of his earliest works. The naive and 
somewhat timid handling recalls that of his first essays, and I re- 




HCLV FAMILY. 

(1631) Munich Pinacothek. 



54 



REMBRANDT 



cognised the same cold and rather liard shadows, the same deh'cate 
modelHng of the nose and forehead, the same gray tonaHty I had noted 
but a few days before in the portraits of this period in the Cassel and 
Gotha Museums. 

Though the Holy Family of Munich bears the date 163 1, its 
breadth of conception and freedom of handhng distinguish it essentially 
from the St. Anastasius and the Presentation in the Temple. It is on 
a much larger scale (76 x 51I inches) than the earlier works, but the 
increase in size is not sufficient to account for the notable difference in 
execution. The painter, renouncing that minute finish he had used 
with so much success in former pictures, seems to have determined on 
a larger and bolder manner. The beauties of the Holy Family are 
tempered, however, by certain defects. The contrast of light and 
shadow is abrupt and violent ; the outlines slightly woolly, and the 
brushing staccato and uneven. The picture must have been painted 
just before Rembrandt's departure from Leyden, or just after his 
establishment in Amsterdam, and the traces of haste in the execution 
are easily accounted for in either case. A marked advance is evident, 
nevertheless, both in the composition and in the greater freedom oi 
handling. In common with ^Messrs. Bredius and H. Riegel,^ we join 
issue against a criticism of Vosmaer's, which marks a curious lapse 
from his usual circumspection. It is surely some idiosyncrasy of 
the Dutch writer's that makes him see a satiric intention in the 
attitude of Joseph : " discreet and insignificant, as becomes his dismal 
part in the drama, he stands in the shade, and, bending forward, 
gazes furtively at the offspring of his wife and his God."" The whole 
sentiment, not only of this picture, but of Rembrandt's entire ccuvj-e, 
is opposed to such a reading. He repeated the subject more than 
once, and there seems to us no doubt of the absolute singleness of 
mind with which he approached it. We may, on the other hand, 
find some grounds for wonder in his predilection for themes no longer 
in vogue among his brother artists, such as episodes from the life and 
death of the Virgin.^ 

But there are numerous evidences among Rembrandt's works of a 
broad tolerance, which led him to disregard sectarian prejudices in his 
choice of religious subjects. Greater prudence in this respect would 
have been excusable enough, especially at Leyden, where Calvinism of 
the most rigid type prevailed, and where the fanaticism from which 
no religious party of the day was free often culminated in violence 
and persecution. One of Rembrandt's most illustrious compatriots, 
Caspar van Baerle (Barlajus), a sometime student of the University, 
who had returned to Levden in 16 12 as Professor of Looic, esteemed 



C3 



^ W. IJode, Studien znr Geschichte dcr holldndischen Malerei, p. 391 ; and H. Riegel, 
£eitrd^i:;e zur nicderHijidischcn Kunstgcschichie, vol. i. p. 74. 

2 Vosmaer, Rembrandt, p. 105. 

' Notabiy in Jiis etchings (B. 53, 54, 55, 57, 58, 62, 63, and 99.) The Viri:;in and 
Infant Christ on Clouds (B. 61) is, in fact, an apotheosis of the Virgin, conceived rather 
in the spirit of a CathoUc than of a Protestant painter. 



REMBRANDT'S RELIGIOUS ATTITUDE 55 

himself happy in having escaped from spiritual bondage by migration 
to Amsterdam, where he longed " to find himself on freer soil." ' 

Leyden had become pre-eminently a city of scholars and theologians, 
in which Rembrandt could no longer hope for such encouragement as 
awaited him at Amsterdam. The latter was now the chief art-centre of 
the country, and painters were flocking thither from every side. It was 
not alone that they found a better market for their works : emulation 
quickened their powers, and their talents were stimulated by the inter- 
change of ideas. Dr. Bredius has recently discovered a census of the 
town of Leyden, dated March, 1631, in which the name of "Rem- 
brandt Harmensz, painter" still figures as an inhabitant. But we 
know from Orlers that his works were by this time in high favour 
amono: the citizens of Amsterdam, and that he had numerous commissions 
for pictures and portraits from them. His journeys to Amsterdam 
were now very frequent, and it seems probable that on these occasions 
he lodged with an art-dealer, named Hendrick van Uylenborch, with 
whom he formed a friendship that lasted many years. It is further 
probable that Uylenborch was the medium through whom he acquired 
some of the studio properties described in a previous chapter. He 
proved his confidence in the dealer by advancing him a sum of 1000 
florins, and in a deed attested in the presence of an Amsterdam notary, 
June 20, 163 1, Hendrick agrees to repay the loan in a year, on con- 
dition that he should be served with a three months' notice of claim. - 

Though Rembrandt could paint pictures in his own studio for his 
patrons at Amsterdam, constant journeys to and fro were necessitated by 
his increasing practice as a portrait-painter. This inconvenience made 
him at last decide on a change of domicile. He had no family duties 
to keep him in Leyden. His mother, now his first consideration, and 
the various other members of his circle, were all sufficiently provided for. 
His eldest brother could do no work, having been injured by an accident. 
But an annuity of 125 florins had been secured to him by his parents, 
so early as March, 1621. The next brother, Adriaen, had given up 
his original trade of shocmaking to take over the malt-mill on the 
death of his father (April 27, 1630). The business seems eventually 
to have fallen off somewhat in his hands. A third, W'illem, was to 
share with his brother in the mill, and Lisbeth, the painter's sister, was 
unmarried, and free to devote herself to her mother. The family was 
in easy circumstances, and though Rembrandt, no doubt, felt the 
parting, he knew there was no obligation on him to remain. Mis 
friends in. Amsterdam had long urged him to settle among them, and 
to this step he finally made up his mind either in the mitldle or towards 
the end of 1631. 

Rembrandt's departure broke up the band of young artists who had 
clustered round him for many years, working probably in his studio. 
Lievens quitted Leyden at about the same date. He had been hardly 

^ Anhelo ad libcrioris soli ai/hiiti, he wrote on Jamiary 9, 1631, to his friciul Jan 
Uytenbogaerd, of whom Rembrandt engraved a fine portrait some years later {Oiui- 
Holland, vol. iv. p. 260). 

2 Jhxdius and De Roever : Kanbrandt, Niciiwc Bydragcii {Oud Holland, v.). 



56 



REMBRANDT 



less successful than his friend. A picture he had painted this same year 
had attracted great attention. This was a life-size study of a man, 
in a black biretta, fantastically dressed, reading by a peat fire. The 
costume and the illumination seem to indicate that the work was 
either inspired by Rembrandt or carried out under his advice. 
The Prince of Orange bought it, and presented it to the English 
ambassador. The ambassador, in his turn, gave it to the English 
king, and so greatly was it admired that Lievens was invited 
to England, where he remained for three years, finding great 
favour at Court, and among the nobility. Returning to Antwerp, he 
married the daughter of the sculptor Michel Colyns. His manner 
gradually assimilated more and more to that of the Flemish school. 
In after years he met his former fellow-student on several occasions 
at Amsterdam, and kept up the practice of exchanging prints with 
him. Several of his works, as we shall find, were amonof the 
treasures of Rembrandt's studio.^ Lievens was much appreciated by 
his contemporaries, and was celebrated by various poets of his day. 
In 1640 the corporation commissioned him to paint a Continence of 
Scipio at 1500 florins. It still retains its position above one of the 
fireplaces in the Town Hall. At the request of Prince Frederick 
Henry's widow, he was also employed on the decorations of the Hnis 
ten Bosch, near the Hague. Notwithstanding these early successes, 
Lievens, like Rembrandt, ended his days in poverty. He died a 
bankrupt, his goods having been previously seized and sold at auction 
by his creditors. 

Gerard Dou, on the other hand, had now achieved a popularity 
that years only tended to increase. The demand for his works grew 
steadily, and they fetched correspondingly high prices, the attraction 
lying less in their actual merit than in the marvellous finish to which 
he gradually inclined more and more. After the departure of 
Rembrandt, the passion for minute execution gained complete 
mastery over his pupil, and Dou became the head of that school of 
genre painters at Leyden whose works, hard, dry, and insignificant 
as they were, enjoyed such extraordinary vogue. Left to himself, 
Van Vliet's decline would have been even more signal than that 
of Dou, but he followed Rembrandt to Amsterdam, where he 
executed a considerable number of plates from the master's pictures. 
In these, which were doubtless carried out under Rembrandt's 
direction, he shows a certain degree of talent, all traces of which 
disappear, however, when he works from his own designs. His 
original plates are all disfigured by the violent contrasts, coarse 
drawing, and vulgar expression which sufficiently explain the complete 
neglect of his works by modern connoisseurs. 

By quitting the home circle to settle at Amsterdam, Rembrandt 
secured a wider sphere for his genius, and one more suitable to his 
artistic powers. But the years spent at Leyden had been fruitful, and 
their influence was considerable throughout his career. As his talent 

^ Five of Lievens' works are included in the inventory of Rcmbrandfs effects — 
a Raising oj Lazarus, two landscapes, a Ileniiif, and an Abraliains Sacrifice. 



INFLUENCE OF REMBRANDT'S RESIDENCE AT LEYDEN 



57 



developed there had grown up in him that love of Nature which clun^ 
to him all his life. He had learnt to look at her with his own eyes, and 
to render her by very characteristic methods. Yet one so full of eager 
curiosity as he, must have been strongly tempted to yield to the current 
that bore so many of his contemporaries to Italy — that Italy whose 
o^lory and whose masterpieces drew the artist-world to her in'crowds. 
But he had been proof against the seductions spread before him by 
travellers' tales. He had dwelt among his own people, instead of 
seeking instruction abroad, as so many of his brethren had done, and, 
even in his own country, 
he had lived somewhat 
alone, a meditative stud- 
ent of his art. He had 
struck out a path at his 
own peril, adopting 
methods peculiar to him- 
self, satisfied with the 
models that lay ready to 
his hand : himself, his 
parents, and his relatives. 
His studies had fur- 
nished his memory and 
filled his portfolios with 
an infinite variety of 
types, ready for use in 
future compositions. He 
had set himself to dis- 
cover the essential notes 
of a diversity of pas- 
sions in his own mobile 
features. 

But these formed only 
a part of his artistic 
preoccupations. He too 
had been fascinated by 
those problems o( illu- 
mination which had at- 
tracted some of his predecessors. But, not content with the more 
obvious contrasts they had noted, he had gone further, and had suc- 
cessfully reproduced the play of those more delicate values, the relation 
of those less sharply defined contrasts, and of that insensible merging 
of light in shadow which constitute the mystery of chiaroscuro. ile 
had divined the vast possibilities of such a science. 1 ^rawing became 
in his hands more than a somewhat abstract methotl of suggesting 
objects by means of a rigid and continuous system of delimitation. He 
had made it a vehicle for e.xtraordinary vixacity ol modelling, for 
expressing the surfaces of forms by obscuring their contours in part, 
only to bring out their essential featiu'es more forcibly. Discoveries 
still more unexpected and personal were reserved for him in con- 




STULiY IN liLACK CHALK. 

(King of Saxony's Collection.) 



58 



REMBRANDT 



nection with the uses of chiaroscuro in composition. No element of 
the picturesque lends itself to greater diversity of combinations, nor is 
any more admirably adapted to the expression of emotion from the 
deepest to the most fleeting. Thus, by restricting or extending the 
field of light at pleasure, he was enabled to emphasise the characteristic 
features of a subject, and to subordinate its details according to their 
relative importance, or helpfulness to the general harmony. So far as 
we have yet followed him, the young master had confined himself to 
simple and direct experiments. But he was aware that a new world, 
rich in potential discoveries, was opening out before him. He learnt 
by degrees to satisfy the vague yearnings of his spirit, without loss of 
the material support afforded him by a keen study of nature. His 
determination of character urged him forward on the road he had 
chosen, and he kept steadily on his course to the end. 

We have seen that this period of voluntary isolation exercised a 
decisive influence on the life he had now resolved to dedicate solely to 
his art. Nothing, he determined, should henceforth come between 
him and the longed-for goal. He would give himself up wholly to 
his studies. As his love of seclusion grew on him, he became 
increasingly reluctant to leave his own hearth. He therefore began to 
fill his home with such things as might increase his knowledge and 
further his work. His marked originality and strength of will were 
such that he had little to fear from the seductions that awaited him 
in a new centre. The transformation that had taken place in his 
character had left its marks on his face. In an etching of 1631 
(B. 7), one of his numerous portraits of himself, we find no vestige of 
that youthful simplicity the grace of which charms us in the Hague 
portrait. The features are more marked, the expression more resolute, 
the face, broader and more masculine, breathes strength and confidence 
in every line. The costume and attitude enforce this impression. 
His hand on his hip, his curling hair escaping from under his hat, 
draped in a rich cloak of fur-lined damask with a collar of pleated 
lace, his bearins^ is that of a man who knows his own value, and will 
not falter in his life-march. Seven years ago he quitted Amsterdam 
a novice ; he comes back a Master. 




REMBRANDT WITH PEI7.ZLED HAIR. 
About T63J (B 8.). 



..4k~^^dn^k'if^''^^^'^^^'^ ''' ■ 




VIEW OF AMSTERDAM. 

About 1640 (C. 210). 



CHAPTER V 



AMSTERDAM TOWARDS THE YEAR 1631 — HER GROWING TRADE AXD PROSPERITY — 
THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE CITY — THE SPIRIT OF TOLERANCE — CHARITIES — 
THE LITERARY MOVEMENT — THE ART AND TASTE OF THE DAY — DUTCH HOME-LIFE. 




T 



SMALL GROTESQUE HEAD. 

About 1632 (B. 327). 



HE situation of Amsterdam, unfurling 
herself fan-wise along the coast, her 
vast harbour, her concentric canal 
system, opening up communication throughout 
the land, seem to mark her out for a great 
centre of international commerce. Yet this 
Venice of the North had risen from small 
beginnings, and her prosperity was won by 
dint of persistent struggles against difficulties 
of every kind. Her development from a 
straggling fisher-hamlet, scattered over the islets 
formed by the alluvial deposits of the Amstel. 
is a significant testimony to that intellio;cnt 

1 1 • 

perseverance and heroic tenacity which ensured the existence, pre- 
servation, and greatness of Holland. 

By the year 163 i, the date at which Rembrandt took up his abode 
in the city, Amsterdam had risen to considerable importance. A 
number of emigrants from Antwerp and Manders had been cordially 
received by the inhabitants, and, turning their energy and business 
knowledge to good account, had become useful and prominent 
members of the community. More fortunate than some of her sister- 
cities, Amsterdam had escaped those horrors of war which had 
devastated Alkmaar, Leyden, and Haarlem. She had temporised for a 
considerable time before finally throwing in her lot with the States 
General in 157S, and, having dismissed the Spanish clergy and magis- 
trature practically without bloodshed, she quietly awaited the issue of 



6o 



REMBRANDT 



the struo-o-le behind the shelter of her dykes. But she had contributed 
actively^'o the success of the naval operations. Fleets were built at 
Amsterdam which sailed from her harbour to assert the Dutch 
supremacy at sea, and to win immortal fame for her hardy sailors, 
admirals, and colonists. Among her navigators and adventurers were 
heroes such as J. van Heemskerk, Van der Does, Linschoten, Gerrit 
de Veer, Barentsz. Pieter Hein, Van Tromp, the De Ruyters, Jan 
Pietersz'Cocn. and his lieutenant Pieter van den Broeck, the founder 
of Batavia. A period of comparative security, followinor on the long 
contest, gave opportunities for the extension of commerce and the 

acquisition of foreign terri- 
tory. On April 2, 1595, 
four vessels set sail for the 
East Indies from Amster- 
dam. They were the first 
Dutch ships that had ap- 
proached those shores. 
Two years later, three re- 
turned, leavino; behind 
them settlements and count- 
ing-houses in latitudes to 
which none but the Portu- 
guese had penetrated 
hitherto. Emboldened by 
these successes, ship-owners 
equipped other vessels. 
Various independent com- 
panies were formed, and, 
amalgamating in 1602, be- 
came the great East India 
Company. The foundation 
of the West India Company 
in 1 62 1 orave a fresh im- 
petus to the trade of Hol- 
land. Half the mercantile marine of the world sailed under her 
flag, and her ships were found in every sea. From Java, Borneo, and 
Brazil her vessels came laden with coffee, spices, rare woods, plants, 
animals, and precious merchandise of evei*y sort, which she distributed 
among the nations of Europe. As commerce developed, the facilities 
for barter increased, and banks were founded to aid the circulation of 
funds. Money poured steadily into Amsterdam ; her Bourse was a 
centre of very lucrative financial operations, regulating the rate of 
exchange throughout the world. Under conditions such as these, the 
need for exact information as to politics, the markets, and other 
matters of public interest became evident. Journalism sprang into 
being ; and the Gazette of Holland, circulating throughout Europe, 
inaugurated the power of the periodical press. 

Amsterdam was the heart of such energy and development as 




THE MOKTAL3AN TOWER. 

(Pen drawing. Heseltine Collection.) 



AMSTERDAM IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 



6i 



has seldom been witnessed in the history of nations. Strangers 
were deeply impressed by its activity, as i3escartcs, whose position 
gave him every opportunity for observation, duly records. The 
philosopher, as is well known, visited Holland for the first time in 
1617, and afterwards lived there for ten years. His first sojourn, then, 
was at Amsterdam, from 1629 to 1632. Delighted with the facilities 
afforded him for his studies, he lived in absolute retirement, giving 
himself up to abstruse speculation and scientific research. Anatomv 
occupied him for a whole winter, and his butcher furnished him with 
portions of animals " to dissect at leisure." On other occasions he 
made friends with the manufacturers of spectacle-glasses, and devoted 
himself to the study of optics. He exchanged ideas with savants on 




VIEW OF THE ZUYDEKKERK. 

(Facsimile of a contemporary print. 1 



the subject of acoustics, or collected seeds of exotics from the 
botanical ofardens of the neio;hbourinQr Universities for transmission 
to France. 

It was an Ideal retreat for an inquirer of Descartes's tastes, ami the 
bustling life around him made his seclusion all the more pleasurable. 
In a letter to M. de Balzac, dated May 5, 163 1, he expresses his 
amazement at the scene of which he was a spectator. " In this vast 
city, where I am the only man not engaged in trade, every one is so 
busy money-making, that I might spend my whole life in comj^jlete 
solitude." He extols the advantages and resources of his domicile, 
and adds, in further evidence of his appreciation : " Seeing how 
pleasant it is to watch the growth of fruits in our orchards, can you not 
conceive the interest with which one hails the arrival of ships freighted 



62 REMBRANDT 

with all the rarities of Europe, and all the treasures of the Indies? 
In what other country in the world are both necessary commodities 
and curious merchandise so readily obtainable as here ? Where else 
can one enjoy such perfect liberty ? " Returninc^ to the subject six- 
years later in his Discourse on MetJiod, he congratulates himself afresh : 
" Lost in the crowd of a great and active people, so busy with their 
own affairs that they have little curiosity as to those of their 
neighbours, I have found it possible to live the life of a hermit, 
while enjoying all the resources of the most populous cities." ^ Forty 
years later, Spinosa, who was nevertheless destined to suffer from 
the bigotry of his fellow-townsmen, paid a like tribute to Amsterdam : 
" a city in the heyday of her prosperity, the admired of every nation 
.... where all, no matter what their creed or country, live together 
in perfect unity." ^ 

As her wealth increased, Amsterdam was gradually transformed.^ 
Like most mediaeval towns, she had found it necessary to prepare 
for attack by circumvallation. But new exigencies arose with the 
development of her commerce. Instead of demolishing the ancient 
eates and towers of the enceinte which successive extensions of the 
boundaries in 1585, 1593, 1609, ^^^ 161 2 had brought within the city, 
the municipal architect, Hendrick de Keyser, utilised them as entrepots, 
or offices for the Customs and other administrative functions. In 
adapting them to new requirements, he practically restricted himself 
to the introduction of a scheme of decoration more in accordance 
with prevailing taste. The Montalban Tower was thus modified 
in 1606, and the Haarlem Gate in 1615. In the one, the Mint 
was established in 1619 ; the other was used for the packing of 
herrings. The St. Anthony's Gate became the Standard Weights 
bureau, and its three flanking towers were assigned to the Guilds 
of painters, tailors, and surgeons respectively, for their periodical 
meetings. Such adaptations served a double end. They preserved 
ancient relics, and saved the expense of new buildings. The same 
practical sentiment governed the transformation of disused Catholic 
churches and cloisters into temples of the reformed faith. Buildings 
specially designed for the new worship also rose in various 
quarters. They were generally plain rectangular halls of uniform 
construction, crowned by a belfry. Such were the Zuyderkerk, on 
the south-east, built between 1607 '^'^^ 1614 ; the Noordenkerk, its 
interior in the form of a Greek cross, with a pulpit in the centre, begun 
in 1620, and finished three years later; and the Westerkerk, a 
three-aisled basilica with a transept, the building of which occupied 
eighteen years — from 1620 to 1638. 

^ Disiours si/r /a Mcthode, part iii. - Spinosa, Tractatiis theologico-poUtus, c. xx. 

^ For a detailed account of these changes, see G. Gallard's admirable work, Geschichte 
der holldndischeii Baukunst u/id Bildnerei, 1890. For information as to the manners and 
literature of the period, two recently published books may also be consulted : Het Land 
van Eembrajidt, by Busken-Huet, 3 vols. 8vo., Haarlem, 18S6 ; and Geschichte der 
niederidndischen Litteratiir, by L. Schneider, i vol., L.eipzig, 1888. 



RELIGIOUS TOLERATION 



03 



In addition to these public buildings, a large number of private 
dwellings in every style of architecture had risen to modify the 
original aspect of the city. If treasure flowed abundantly' into 
Amsterdam coffers, it was spent no less lavishly. The merchant 
princes, after amassing their great fortunes, were, like their prototypes 
in Venice and Florence, ambitious to distinguish themselves' by 
the refinement of their tastes. Many of them were leaders of the 
intellectual movement ; they dabbled in letters, and became patrons 
of art. On questions of public polity they brought to bear the same 
honourable intelligence 
that had marked their 
business transactions. A 
deep sense of solidarity 
united all classes in la- 
bours for the common 
weal. Municipal authority 
was no exclusive appanage 
of patrician birth ; it was 
open to all whose merits 
claimed the suffraofes of 
their fellow-citizens. 

The instinctive lean- 
ing of this community 
towards wisdom and so- 
briety of conduct is dis- 
cernible in every mani- 
festation of its energies. 
Its exercise of reason was 
reinforced by a lofty moral 
sense, due to its character- 
istic conception of religion. 
The Dutch were a staid 
and serious race, practical 
and truthloving in their 
desire for knowledge. We 
shall find zealous theolo- 
gians among them ; and 

disputes between the innumerable sects that divided the cit)- 
degenerated occasionally into riot, pillage, and bloody persecution. 
But the spirit of tolerance was abroad in 1630 ; an aristocracy of 
intellect had arisen, the members of which, though professing different 
creeds, were united by the tenderest friendship, and who, as their 
mutual knowledge grew, learnt that very opposite beliefs may bear 
like fruits of blameless living. 

The dogmatic element was not abandoned in religious teaching ; 
but in doctrine, as in all other intellectual matters, the Dutch 
demanded clarity and i)recision. They sought to establish some .solid 
mutual ground, acceptable to all, and were unwearied in their exertions 




VIEW OF THE WESTEKKERK. 

(Drawing by Doudier, after a photosraj-h.) 



64 



REMBRANDT 



to this end. And as the Scriptures were the foundation on which their 
creeds were based, they felt it to be of great importance that the text 
in use should be trustworthy. They were aided in questions of 
exegesis by members of the Jewish colony, who had been cordially 




EPHRAIM BONUS. 

1647 (B. 278). 



received throughout Holland. Amsterdam, however, was the favourite 
refuge of Hebrew immigrants, and no less than four hundred Jewish 
families, chiefly from Portugal, had settled in the city before the 
middle of the seventeenth century. They lived apart, in a quarter 
of their own choosing, but were not confined to a ghetto, as in Rome 



CHARITABLE INSTITUTIONS 



65 



and Frankfort. By 1657 the colonists were completely emancipated. 
They kept up a constant intercourse between their " New Jerusalem" 
and off-shoots established in England, Denmark, and Hamburg. 
Many rose to distinction by their learning or qualities. Several 
devoted themselves to the study of medicine, like that Ephraim 
Bonus whose portrait both Rembrandt and his friend Elevens 
painted. Others took to commerce, and sailed in Dutch ships to 
establish counting-houses even in Surinam and Brazil. Among their 
Rabbis were Hebraists such as Menasseh Ben Israel, the friend of 
Rembrandt, and of the 
most distinguished men 
of his day. 

The organisation of 
charity in Amsterdam is 
yet another evidence of 
that spirit of benevo- 
lence which, under vari- 
ous forms, bound the in- 
habitants one to another. 
The system of adminis- 
tration established in the 
various hospitals, lazar- 
houses, orphanages, and 
homes for the aged 
founded or supported by 
private or civic enter- 
prise, was so admirable, 
that it has been pre- 
served intact to this day. 
City notables and dis- 
tinguished patricians ac- 
count it honourable to 
serve on their Councils. 
They check the expen- 
diture with scrupulous 

care, occasionally covering deficits by munificent gifts. Super- 
visory jurisdiction is vested in a body of Regents ; with them is 
associated a Directress, who bears the title of Mother. The 
most exquisite order and cleanliness obtain. In the Council-rooms 
hang portraits of administrators or benefactors. Many of these 
halls have thus become museums on a small scale, possessing works 
of considerable importance. Canvases by Jacob Ijacker, Juriaen 
Oven, Abraham de Vries, &c., are preserved in the j\Iunici]),i] 
Orphanage of the Kalverstraat. In the Hall of the Society of 
Remonstrants there is a hne portrait by Thomas dc Keyser, and one 
of Jan Uytenbogaerd by Jacob Backer. 

Nowhere, as may be imagined, did the spirit of liberty work 
with happier results than in the domain of science and letters. 

F 




MENASSICII liK.M ISRAICL. 

1636 (15. 269). 



66 REMBRANDT 

Though Amsterdam, less privileged than Leyden, had no University, 
she could boast scholarship equal to that of any neighbouring city. 
She had long been the centre of culture in Holland, and the most 
distinguished savants of the day were soon attracted by the advantages 
she offered, when, in 1632, she founded an institution modelled on 
the Illustrious School of Deventer. Her Chambers of Rhetoric had 
taken the lead in the literary movement, and had founded the only 
permanent theatre in the country. The mysteries and allegories 
originally enacted in honour of princely visitors had given place to 
dramas dealing with more mundane themes, and better suited to 
contemporary tastes. The Beggars had their poets, whose terrible 
songs of rage and vengeance had been their battle-hymns when they 
swept the country of its tyrants. The breath of popular passion touched 
the drama, and allusions to familiar scenes and contemporary events 
break the monotony of Coster's academic compositions. Thus, in 
his Polyxenes, which was first acted in 1630, he sought to bring 
discredit on religious fanaticism, relieving his habitual coarseness 
and faults of taste by occasional flashes of genius. His friend and 
contemporary Brederoo carried such innovations much farther. He 
attempted to reproduce every-day life on the boards, seeking his 
models in the streets and markets of Amsterdam, and abating 
nothing of their freedom of speech. But he died prematurely before 
he had proved his capacity. 

Pieter Cornelisz Hooft, an aristocrat by birth and education, was 
the choragus of classicism in the opposite camp. The diction ot 
his insipid pastorals, pasticci on Tasso's Aminta and Guarini's Pastor 
Fido, remained unchanged^ponderous, invertebrate, full of conceits 
and affectations. The tragedies by which they were succeeded have 
more of grace and nature, but they suffer from the same radical 
feebleness of conception. Vulgarity jostles pathos at every turn ; and 
the action is impeded by endless digressions and irrelevancies, 
Hooft's broad and tolerant views raised him above party strife, 
religious or political, and he had friends of every denomination. A 
passion for the antique distinguished most of those who gathered 
round him at his country house at Muiden, near Amsterdam, where he 
had settled in 1609, o^ ^^^ appointment as warden of the district. 
The exchanofe of letters and verses in Latin obtained in this 
circle, which, under the name of the Mtiider Kring, was of some 
note in the literary history of the day. The daughters of Roemer 
Vischer were amons: its most brilliant members. These learned 
persons affected Ciceronian graces of style in their correspondence, 
and racked their brains for laborious paraphrases by which to describe 
very modern sentiments and transactions. Subtleties akin to the 
jargon of our own blue-stockings were ill assimilated by the 
vigorous Dutch temperament. Even with the most highly cultured, 
these artificial graces were allied to passages of doubtful taste, 
and to elaborately studied reminiscences, breathing pedantry in 
every line. Notwithstanding which, Hooft's talents, high position^ 



LITERATURE 67 

and nobility of character gave him considerable influence in Dutch 
literature. 

Vondel, the hosier-poet of the Warmoesstraat, was greatly Hooft's 
superior in originality and strength of conception. High as was his 
reputation among his contemporaries, his lot was no more prosperous 
and peaceful than that of Rembrandt and Spinosa, and, like them, he 
died in poverty. In Vondel's dramas, the man is more apparent than 
the writer ; whether inspired by some Scriptural theme, or some 
episode in national history, they breathe his innermost convictions. 
Careless of the animosity he provoked, he worked undauntedly for 
truth and justice, as he conceived them. Fanatics of every party 
poured out their wrath upon him. In his Palamcdes, or the JMiwder 
of the Innocent, produced in 1625, he boldly inveighed against the 
persecutions engendered by religious strife. The dramatis personce 
were his contemporaries. Prince Maurice, his ministers, and the 
murderers of Barneveld, under transparent disguises ; the allusions 
to political events were so numerous and pointed ^ that Vondel, cited 
to answer for such licence, at the Hague, thought it prudent to escape 
incognito, and take refuge among friends and relatives. On the 
intervention of the magistrature, his penalties were commuted to a 
fine of 300 florins. In spite of this escapade, he was the popular 
candidate a few years later for the honour of inaugural representa- 
tion in the new Amsterdam theatre, where his Gysh'echt van Anistcl 
was produced, January 3, 1638. Vondel excelled Hooft in lyric 
sense, in vitality, colour, patriotic fervour, depth and ardour of 
religious conviction. His free spirit breathed unquenchable vigour, 
in caustic satires whose shafts went straight to the mark. He was 
destined, however, to suffer cruelly in his old age for his independent 
temper. 

A contemporary, far below him in talent, was better treated by 
fortune. Jacob Cats, chiefly remarkable for the minute realism with 
which he handled familiar themes, had both the qualities and the 
defects that appeal to the multitude. He was at the height of his 
reputation in 1630. The works of ''Father Cats'' were to be found in 
every household, side by side with the Bible. His Poem on Illarriaoe 
[For?n7ilier van den hoitwclycken Staet), published in 1625, was 
followed in 1632 by the Mirror of Ancient and Modc7'n Times 
[Spiegel van der ottden en nieniven tyd), a work in which he seeks to 
prove that all practical philosophy may be summed up in popular 
proverbs. He illustrates his text by exhortations to prudence, order, 
and economy, conceived in a spirit of somewhat j^rosaic morality. 
In his Nuptial Ring {Trouiuring), publrshed shortly afterwards (1637), 
he details conjugal anecdotes of more than doubtful propriety 
with a cynical simplicity, and it is curious to find this high 
functionary of the State indulging in a licence worthy of Jan Steen. 
Cats was essentially a popular writer, and his works are almost 

^ These allusions have been ahnotated and explained in a very interesting study by 
Mr. J. H. W. Unger, Oud-IIolland, 1888, p. 51. 

F 2 



68 



REMBRANDT 



incomprehensible outside his own country. The success of his 
writing's (to which, no doubt, Adriaen van de Venue's illustrations 
contributed) was so extraordinary, that fifty-five thousand copies were 
sold by an Amsterdam publisher in a single year. In modern times, 
however, there has been a marked reaction, even in Holland, against 
so debased a style of poetry, and his claims to rank in a literary 







THE RAISING OK JAIRUS S DAUGHTER. 

(Pen drawing, Seymour-Haden Collection.) 



triumvirate, on equal terms with Hooft and Vondel, are now very 
justly disputed. 

It is evident that literary success at this period was proportionate 
to the writer's knowledge of popular life, and accurate reproduction 
of its realities. Even in the best society, a certain coarseness marked 
the habits of persons whose lives were, on the whole, orderly and 
moral. When we remember that anomalies such as these existed in 
society throughout Europe, we shall more readily pardon them in the 



MANNERS 



69 



Dutch, a nation but just recovering from a struggle that had convulsed 
its whole social system. The education of this vigorous and hitherto 
somewhat uncultured race was derived from camps and ships, or from 
theological and political treatises. Such a training was little calculated 
to develope the minor graces of reticence and good breedino-. It is 
not surprising, therefore, that their amusements, public or^prlvate, 
should have been marked by a certain grossness. Although the general 
demeanour of the people was calm and slow, so that even when most 
active they never seemed hurried, there were yet times when they 
threw off all restraint, 
and gave themselves up 
to a very Saturnalia 
of riotous movement. 
Those who have never 
witnessed one of the 
Amsterdam Ke7'messes, 
recently abolished, can 
form no idea of the 
frenzy that suddenly 
transformed the sober 
populace, their wild yells, 
their frantic sarabands, 
into which inoffensive 
spectators were whirled 
relentlessly, if they hap- 
pened to cross the path 
of the excited crowd. 
The habitues of the 
theatres comported 
themselves in much the 
same fashion. Decent 
folks were scared away 
by the character of the 
audience, and its be- 
haviour, especially when 
the piece happened to 
be one of Brederoo's 
farces. A motley crew 
of men, women, and 

children took possession of the pit, where they made assignations, 
drank, smoked, shouted, and very often exchanged any projectiles 
that lay ready to hand. At family gatherings, people whose 
normal habits were sober and temperate became, for the nonce, 
eaters and drinkers of Pantagruelian capacity. The number of 
jomts consumed and bottles emptied at a wedding feast was 
appalling. Hooft, who condemned such excesses as bestial and 
degrading, likened Amsterdam to " the island of Circe, where men 
were chano-ed into swine." In primitive times, the annual feasts held 




STUDY OF AN OLD MAN. 

(King of Saxony's Collection.) 



70 



REMBRANDT 



at the meetings of the military and artistic guilds were frugal in 
the extreme, consisting chiefly of a few herrings, and tankards 
of beer that passed from hand to hand. But such humble merry- 
makings gradually developed into banquets of inordinate length. 
Van der Heist's large canvases instruct us as to the capacity 
of drinking-horns drained by the civic guards, and the dimen- 
sions of the casks they broached. Small wonder that after such 
potations the eyes of his honest sitters should sparkle, and their 
cheeks glow I It was towards the close of such a feast, when 
heads were getting hot, that the aged Vondel, dreading the in- 
evitable uproar, whispered to his neighbour Flinck : " Govert, I 
love not strife, disputes, and libations. Wilt thou remain ? I must 
be gone." ^ 

But such occasions were clearly exceptional, and the manifest 
sincerity of the Dutch painters has furnished less damaging records 
of contemporary life. Though they too, and notably the so-called 
painters of conversations, or society pieces, have shown us the pastimes 
of their countrymen in varying degrees of elegance and decency, 
from the drunken frolic of the peasant to the refined debauchery of 
the patrician. With Esaias van de Velde, Dirck Hals, Pieter 
Potter, Antoni Palamedes, and Pieter Codde for our guides, we 
run the risk of finding ourselves occasionally in queer company. 
But interesting as their works and those of their successors 
are, from certain sides, they are comparatively unimportant in 
view of the vast mass of testimony, equally trustworthy and 
infinitely more favourable, to be found in the pictures of their 
contemporaries. 

The brush rather than the pen has made Holland famous among 
nations ; and no name in her annals shines with more glorious lustre 
than that of Rembrandt. Paintino- is the one art that has flourished 
supremely on Dutch soil. The others can scarcely be said to have 
even taken root. In Amsterdam, the only Dutchmen who rose to 
eminence as musicians were the three generations of Sweelincks ; the 
only sculptors of note were Jansz Vinckenbrink, who produced one 
masterpiece, the pulpit of the Nieuwekerk (1648), and a number 
of insignificant works ; and Hendrick de Keyser, the author of the 
tomb of William the Silent at Delft (1621) and the Erasmus of 
Rotterdam (1622). De Keyser, however, was better known as an 
architect, though his churches and public buildings have little dis- 
tinction. But painting was nearing its apogee at this period, and 
never in all the history of art did genius bear such abundant fruit 
within such narrow limits of time and space. Although her Guild 
of St. Luke was a somewhat heterogeneous society, far below those 
of Utrecht, the Hague, Delft, and Haarlem, both in solidarity and 
importance, Amsterdam reaped the benefit of previous effort in other 
directions for her art, as she had already done for her commerce. 
The Athens of the North, as her men of letters loved to call her, 

^ Vosmaer, Rembrandt, p. 329. 



PROGRESS OF ART 71 

gradually attracted all the famous masters who had been formed in 
other centres. There was hardly a single artist of renown who did 
not make a sojourn more or less prolonged within the city, and who 
did not look to her approval for the confirmation of his fame. Her 
inhabitants now formed the richest and most populous community 
in the country ; and among her guilds and private collectors 
painters found the readiest and most profitable market for 
their wares. Even now, though many of her masterpieces have 
been taken from her and scattered throughout Europe, the visitor to 
Amsterdam realises more strongly than elsewhere that painting 
was the national art of Holland, the art that has best interpreted 
her aspirations and reproduced her varied social life. Foremost 
in genius as in numbers were her portrait-painters. In that vast 
iconography of all classes and professions they have transmitted 
to us, everything that could indicate the tastes and occupations of 
their models has been noted with the most scrupulous care. The 
greater number of such portraits are not isolated examples ; the wife 
makes a pair with her husband ; or the couple figure on the same 
canvas, as if to attest the harmony of their union. In some 
instances the whole family clusters round the parents, the married sons 
and daughters with their partners, others drawing or making music, 
the younger children with their playthings. To complete the illusion, 
servants are placed beside their masters, either in the usual sitting- 
room or in a landscape before the house. The composition varies in 
taste with the painter, but the likeness is always sincerely and 
conscientiously studied. 

Together with these domestic portraits, the important canvases 
painted for the numerous guilds form as it were a series of official 
documents, illustrating the history of the city, and preserving tht 
memory of great institutions and famous men. Art patronage was 
now exercised solely by the guilds or private collectors. The demand 
for votive pictures had passed away with the Catholic worship and 
its clergy. The princes of the House of Orange were very luke- 
warm protectors of the arts, and Frederick Henry was the 
first among them to give some attention to the building, fur- 
nishing, and decoration of his palaces. Even his artistic sympathies 
were rather Flemish than Dutch, and the rich citizens and 
men of letters shared his predilections. Hooft, Van Baerle, and 
even Vondel recognised no rivals to Van Dyck and Rubens. They 
could not understand Rembrandt, and never allude to him in 
their writings. 

Amateurs who prided themselves on their enlightenment varied 
their collection of Flemish masters by the purchase of Italian pictures, 
a predilection for which was supposed to stamp the collector at once 
as a person of the highest taste. Examples of the Italian masters 
were consequently much sought after, and fairly numerous in Amster- 
dam at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Among local 
painters, the Italianisers enjoyed most favour, and commanded the 



REMBRANDT 



highest prices. The large majority who knew nothing of the artistic 
quahty of a picture was captivated by their choice of elevated 
themes, and their close adherence to tradition in treatment. The 
literary and historical episodes they affected further gave the pur- 
chaser a chance of displaying his own learning in explanation and 





,/f-JH 




THE PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE. 

(Pen and wash. Heseltine Collection.) 



comment. The most popular among the landscape-painters were 
also those who sought inspiration abroad. The painters of Biblical 
or mythological figures in rocky landscapes and learned per- 
spectives accounted the scenery of Holland tame and unpicturesque. 
With so little perception of its beauties, they naturally felt no 
desire to reproduce them. As has happened in every age, the 



CONDITION OF ARTISTS 



73 



most meretricious talent found the readiest appreciation among 
so-called connoisseurs, who saw in minute finish, exactness of 
imitation, and kindred tricks of facile mediocrity the highest artistic 
achievement. The true masters, whose nobler genius demanded 
franker and more characteristic expression, had a hard struggle for 
bare existence. 

The genre painters of this period often represent very modest in- 
teriors as adorned with a surprising number of pictures, and recently 




JOSEPH CONSOLING THE I'KISONKRS. 

(I!riiish Museum.) 



published inventories of the seventeenth century prove that many a 
plain citizen owned a considerable collection. It might therefore be 
inferred that contemporary ])ainters found a good market for their 
works. But the absurd prices at which these works were valued 
and sold at auction bear dismal witness to the true state of affairs. 
At Amsterdam, as at Leyden, canvases were to be bought for a 
few florins, signed by masters now famous throughout the world, 
whose separate works command prices greater than the sum total 



74 REMBRANDT 

of their gains in life. Many of them lived needy and neglected, and 
died in misery. The shrewder among them supplemented their art 
by some more lucrative calling. Van Goyen speculated in old pictures, 
tulips, and house property ; his son-in-law Steen rented two breweries, 
which he turned to profitable account ; Hobbema obtained the post of 
ganger at the Amsterdam docks ; Pieter de Hooch was reduced to 
serve as steward under a master who claimed a proprietary right in a 
certain number of his pictures ; many became bankrupt, or died in the 
hospitals. 

It is the glory of these men that they sought a higher reward than 
the suffrages of the crowd. But our judgment of the contemporaries 
who ignored their greatness should not be too harsh. It was 
hardly possible that they should recognise art presented to them 
in such novel guise — art not only difiering from, but in apparent 
conflict with, all received standards. It is only by slow degrees 
that the importance of the great Dutch epoch has been fully 
established. Its record is no less glorious than complete. Side by 
side with those correct and impeccable artists, whose accomplished 
technique satisfied the average taste of the day, it numbers inno- 
vators whose vivifying originality gave the crowning excellence to 
a school in which every diversity of style and talent has had its 
representative. 

Such was the art which furnished the citizens of Amsterdam with 
the chief ornament of their homes. In these a great change had 
taken place. The vast halls of Van Bassen's pictures and Vredeman 
de Vries's engravings had given place to smaller and cosier interiors, 
better adapted to the tastes and habits of the times. In the architec- 
ture of public buildings, Italian influences mainly predominated ; 
but that of private houses preserved its irregular character, each 
house, even on the exterior, retaining its individuality of aspect. The 
ornate fa9ades, crowned with gables ending above in "crow-steps," 
or in huge moulded volutes, displayed every variety of ornament, 
from the sculptured caryatid or garland to the emblems and devices 
proclamatory of the owner's profession, political leanings, and moral 
or religious beliefs. Entering such dwellings, generally of moderate 
dimensions, even in the most fashionable quarter, the stranger would 
be struck by the order, comfort, and exquisite cleanliness in all, and 
the subdued luxury of the wealthier among them. The all-pervad- 
ing influence of the Dutch housewife was apparent at a glance. 
Innumerable portraits have made us familiar with those incomparable 
helpmeets— lamiliar with their candid faces, rosy complexions, frank 
eyes, and decent sobriety of mien. Some among them have a charming 
grace and distinction ; but, as a rule, health and vigour characterise 
them, rather than beauty. Marking the rigidity of their closely-fitting 
costumes, the hair drawn tightly under the coif, the throat concealed 
by a stiffly gauffered ruff, we divine the virtuous regularity of lives 
devoted to the cares of a household, and the education of children. 
With advancing age, the steady practice of honest and wholesome 



DUTCH LIFE AND ART 75 

virtues stamps itself on the serene, unruffled faces, giving an 
indescribable air of dignity that commands respect. Later, as wealth 
increased, manners changed. But for a long time something of 
primitive simplicity lingered in certain families, even among the most 
exalted, and the Dutch chatelaine saw nothing derogatory to her 
rank in the faithful discharge of daily duties, the watchful super- 
vision of her household, and the personal direction of its humblest 
details. 

Thanks to her ceaseless care, everything about her was 
orderly, and had its appointed place. Coppers sparkled like gold, 
tiled floors shone spotless ; coffers and presses, bright with inces- 
sant waxing and polishing, breathed forth the pleasant fragrance 
of clean linen, that close fine linen renowned throughout Europe, 
the chief luxury of the Dutch house-mistress. Along the walls, 
chairs were ranged at equal distances ; on the sideboards stood 
silver ewers or vases, massive in shape, but delicately chased 
by some cunning artificer, such as Jan Lutma or Adam van 
Vianen. Above the carved woodwork, stamped leather, or por- 
celain tiles that ornamented the lower part of the walls, hung 
the pictures. These were generally of medium size, bright and 
luminous, to show up well in the scanty sunlight filtering through 
the leafy shadows of trees on the neighbouring quay. The execu- 
tion was usually careful and minute, enabling the owner to make 
gradual discovery of beauties at first unnoticed. Those whose 
means denied them what was then the modest luxury of pictures 
contented themselves with engravings, and the printsellers of the 
Kalverstraat — the Danckerts, Visscher, Clement de Jonghe, Pieter 
Nolpe, and many more — offered them a choice among those innu- 
merable plates which circulated from Amsterdam throughout the 
world. In other rooms, again, we find maps substituted for pictures. 
In all these Dutch interiors few things were non-utilitarian, 
none were mere incumbrances. Here and there perhaps was 
some curiosity brought from the Indies, lacquers, finely carved 
ivories, pieces of that Chinese or Japanese porcelain which it was 
becoming the fashion to collect, and beside which the first 
manufactures of Delft still held their own. In the litde garden 
adjoining the house, narrow finely gravelled paths divided beds 
neatly bordered with box, gay with bright-leaved shrubs, and 
flowers ; tulips, narcissi, anemones, and all the bulbous plants that 
flourish in the soil of Holland, and even in those days formed an 
important branch of her commerce. 

The exteriors, so faithfully reproduced by Van der Heyden, 
were continually washed, and repainted every year, with that 
minute and apparently superfluous cleanliness which is found on 
experience to be an essential condition of life in Holland. Indica- 
tions of order, care, and foresight strike the observer on every 
hand ; all things bear the impress of that precise and practical 
spirit of which we might multiply evidences. The formal lines 



76 



REMBRANDT 



of houses, the rows of trees planted at regular intervals along 
the canals, the noiseless procession of boats bringing daily neces- 
saries to each dwelling, may seem dull and monotonous to the 
stranger. The Dutchman never wearies of the scene ; the uni- 
formity so familiar to him is reflected in his own life. The 
bounties disregarded by others because so freely bestowed on them 
by Nature, he has won by his own exertions ; they are his creations ; 



V- 



f^--f,' 




AN OLD MAN PRAYING. 

(Subject unknown. Pen drawing, Bonnat Collection ) 



he knows what they cost him, and what he has done to deserve 
them. The buildings that protect him, the sea from which he 
draws his wealth, the freedom he enjoys, the very soil on which 
he stands, recall a long series of determined efforts and heroic 
struggles. All he has won he has still to defend and preserve, as he 
declares in his modest device : " I will maintain." Self-reliant and 
self-sufficing, he has given a noble example to the world. Artists, 
now the admired of every nation, for whose works the wealthy eagerly 
compete, worked for him, and for him alone. The great revolution 



DUTCH LIFE AND ART 



77 



accomplished, the Dutch sought to develope " an art congenial to 
their tastes and suitable to their conditions." ..." A race of traders," 
as Fromentin ably puts it,^ " practical, industrious, unimaginative^ 
without a touch of mysticism — frugal in habits and essentially 
anti-Latin in intellect — its traditions overthrown, its worship stripped 
of symbols and imagery — such a race turned almost involun- 
tarily to a geiwe at once simple and daring — the only one in which 
it had excelled for fifty years — and demanded portraits from its 
painters." 

Rembrandt both conformed to the popular programme, and 
went immeasurably beyond it. We have tried, not altogether 
idly, we trust, to paint the population among which he was about 
to live, in order to give a clear idea of the influences afterwards 
brought to bear upon him, his gradual emancipation from them, 
and the final triumph of his originality. He was now to measure 
himself with rivals not unworthy of him. We shall see him 
presently outshining them, all, and becoming a fashionable favourite, 
but we know that he was not the man to accept the bondage of 
popularity. He was never a complaisant idol of the multi- 
tude, and his success, so far from intoxicating him, rather 
moved him, by a reactionary impulse, to press forward more 
resolutely than ever, in the path marked out by his own 
sincerity. 

^ Les Afaitres d' autrefois, p. 172. 




OLD MAN WriH A rniNTF.I) I'liAKH. 

1631 (B. 315). 




PEN IJKAWING. 

(Heseltine CoUectioa) 



CHAPTER VI 



REMBRANDT SETTLES AT AMSTERDAM — HIS FIRST PICTURES — HIS FEMALE MODELS — 
THE 'GOOD SAMARITAN' — THE 'RAPE OF PROSERPINE '—STUDIES OF OLD MEN — 
THE PORTRAITURE OF THE DUTCH SCHOOL — THOMAS DE KEYSER — PORTRAITS 
PAINTED BY REMBRANDT IN 1632. 




O 



(MALL FIGURE OF A POLANDER. 

1631 (B. 142). 



N his arriv^al at Amsterdam, Rembrandt 
took up his abode with his friend 
Hendrick van Uylenborch, with whom 
he had lodofed on former occasions. But his 
stay was probably brief, for one of his inde- 
pendent character and with his passion for 
work must have been anxious to find himself 
in a home of his own, where he could give 
himself up freely to his studies. The lodging 
he chose was on the Bloemgracht, a canal to 
the west of the town, in a warehouse, no doubt 
spacious enough to afford him a studio where 
he could arrange his models conveniently, 
under favourable conditions as to light. 

Rembrandt found facilities in his new residence that had been 
denied him in Leyden. Male models were procurable, and some few 
women sat to him. There was at least one, whose face and form 
— too easily recognisable, alas ! — we find in several etchings of the 
period. We are bound to admit that the so-called BatJiiug Diana 
(B. 201) has little of the classic grace and beauty suggested 
by the title. Rembrandt's interpretations of mythologic fable were 
rarely happy. It is hard to imagine a type more vulgar than 
this coarse-limbed, harsh-featured wench, with her pendulous breasts, 
shapeless stomach, and legs scored by the garters she has just 
discarded. But though we cannot be blind to the repulsiveness of 



"THE GOOD SAMARITAN" 79 

such details, especially in a subject of this kind, we may draw 
attention to the firmness, the frankness, the skilful sobriety of 
the handling, the remarkable knowledge of effect, and the airy 
lightness of the vegetation in this plate, which, though it bears 
no date, is signed with the monogram affected by Rembrandt at 
this period. We further note the mantle with embroideries of 
gold and precious stones, which formed part of Rembrandt's artistic 
wardrobe at this date, and which he introduced in many con- 
temporary works. The Naked Woman seated on a Hillock (B. 198) 
and the Danae (B. 204) are from the same model, under aspects 
even more unpleasant, and the cynical and loathsome ugliness of 
the Wife of Potiphar (1634, B. 39), who lolls upon a couch in 
another etching, was perhaps inspired by the same sitter, and 
sufficiently accounts for the precipitate flight of Joseph at the 
revelations made by this shameless creature in the inconceivable hope 
of his seduction ! The study of the feminine form as displayed by 
these viragoes added little to the master's reputation, and fortunately 
he soon abandoned these essays, for some time at least. ^ The above 
bear significant testimony to his exaggerated respect for nature, and 
his conscientious insistence on her most revoltinor realities, with that 
consequent total eclipse of taste we shall have occasionally to notice in 
his work. 

The episode of the Good Samaritan had a peculiar attraction for 
Rembrandt, and he returned to it several times. He made use of it 
at about the same period for a picture and an etching (B. 90), very 
unequal in originality. The composition is the same in both, and is 
identical with that of an earlier plate by Jan van deVelde, save for 
the modification of certain details. In Van de Veldc's print the 
Samaritan stands in front of the horse, and hands some pieces of 
money to the host. The latter holds a torch, for night has fallen, and 
the gloom is further relieved by a second torch in the hand of a child 
on the steps above. The distant landscape lies in total darkness. 
Rembrandt, strange to say, though never more absorbed in the 
problems of chiaroscuro than at this period, neglects the picturesque 
opportunities proper to such a theme, and sets his figures in broad 
daylight, against a luminous sky. There is infinite depth in the 
neutral tonality of this sky in the picture, but the composition has 
little character. The actors are uninteresting, with the exception of 
the wounded man, whose look of pain and despair is very moving. 
The figures are piled one above the other in the same unfortunate 
manner as in the Baptism of the Eunuch. We are far from sharing, 
or even understanding, the boundless ;ul mi ration expressed by 
Goethe, who knew the work only through the etchini^-. lie con- 
sidered the plate "one of the finest in the world; executed 
with the most scrupulous care, and yet with marvellous facility." 
His enlargements on this judgment are full of the romantic spirit 

^ He readied occasionally a belter type at a muck later period. See the " // 'oman -ioith the 
Arrowi" — F. IV. 



8o 



REMBRANDT 



that informed the art criticism of his day, and caused critics to 
read into a work of art subtleties never dreamt of by its author — 
subtleties not merely futile from the artistic point of view, but 
harmful and grotesque. In this case, Goethe's elucidations over- 
leap all bounds of probability. After endorsing Longhi's praise 
of the spirited figure of the old man on the threshold, the great 
writer remarks that the wounded traveller, instead of sinkinof into 
the arms of the servant who offers to carry him into the inn, 
resists, and endeavours, by gesture and expression, to move the 
pity of a young man, who glances at him indifferently from the 
window above. In him the sufferer recognises the chief of the 

brigands who attacked 
him, and reduced him to 
his present state. His 
despair on finding himself 
in the actual den of the 
murderers is only too well 
founded ! ^ Save for the 
cask to the right of the 
etching, and the dog who 
is planted in a somewhat 
. . . over-familiar attitude 
in the foreground, the pic- 
ture of the Good Samar- 
itan, now in Lady Wal- 
lace's collection, is an 
exact reproduction (re- 
versed) of the plate." The 
latter bears on the fifth 
state only the words Rem- 
brandt inventor ct fecit 
1633. The fact of the 
reversal proves that the 
plate was executed after 
the picture. The attribu- 
tion of the print to Rem- 
brandt has been warmly contested of late, and notable divergences 
from his usual treatment in the trees, architecture, and even in some of 
the figures, have suggested the authorship of Rodermont or of Bol. 
It would perhaps be nearer the mark to assign a certain portion of 
the work to_ Rembrandt, while admitting the probable collaboration 
of some pupil. But we reserve our opinion as to the names suggested, 
until we can treat it at length in our discussion of Rembrandt's 

^^ Goethe : Schrifteti und Aufsdtze ziir Kunst : Rembrandt der Denlicr. 

- It lias been stated that the dog originally figured in the picture, and was erased at 
the desire of a former owner. No trace of such suppression is apparent ; if it actually 
took place, it must have been some considerable time ago, for there is no dog in the 
engraving m the Choiseul " Gallery," to which collection the Good Samaritan belonged 
at the close of the last century. 




DIANA BATHING. 
About 1631 (B. 20l). 



THE GOOD SAMARITAN 



81 



scholars. The execution of the painting is a further proof of its 
priority, and, Hke Dr. Bredius,^ we consider its analogies with that of 
the Pi'eseiitation in the Temple so strong as to rank it among the 
works of 1631 or thereabout. 

It must, however, be borne in mind that, in Rembrandt's case, such 




THF GOOD SAMARITAN. 

1633 (B. 90). 



chronological problems are often delicate matters. In his work as a 

whole we shall find him gaining steadily in breadth and freedom as 

his talent developed ; yet we shall occasionally meet with examples 

1 Nederlandsche Spectator, 1889, No. 19 : ' Old Masters' in Royal Academy, 1SS9. 

G 



82 REMBRANDT 

bearing dates that seem almost incredible, taken in conjunction with 
other sio-ned and dated works of the same year. Such anomalies may 
be variously explained. Many of his canvases remained for a long 
time in his studio, either because he delayed the finishing touches, or 
because purchasers were slow in making up their minds. In either 
case he probably left them unsigned till finally disposed of. Others 
were certainly re-painted, wholly or in part, after considerable 
intervals, and bear distinct traces of successive re-touching. Others 
again, though carried out more or less continuously, are very unequal 
in execution, the touch being in some parts minute and careful, in 
others bold and summary. Finally, Rembrandt seems to have felt 
the need of diversity in his methods. It was his habit to revert, 
after the execution of some broad and sketchy work, to his more 
sedate and elaborate manner, as if by way of discipline. Such 
variations and returns to earlier stages of development were very 
natural at the period we are now considering. A new-comer in 
Amsterdam, and anxious to make his way, it cost him little to 
conform in some degree to the reigning taste. His natural inclination, 
as his earliest works proclaim, was towards a minute study of nature, 
and his reverence for realities now brought him back on several 
occasions to the scrupulous finish that was his surest passport to 
public favour. 

We are therefore struck by the elaboration of various works of 
this period which, though later than the Holy Family of the 
Pinacothek, are more closely allied to preceding pictures. We may 
instance two small examples in the Berlin Museum (Nos. 828c and 
823). The subject of the former is, as the Catalogue remarks, 
somewhat obscure. Is it a Judith ? — a Minerva ? It is impos- 
sible to decide. The picture was long ascribed to Ferdinand Bol, 
and hidden away in the magazines. Dr. Bode reinstated it, and 
restored it to the master, to whom it was ascribed in early inven- 
tories. The ascription is fully borne out by the handling, and by 
the half-effaced monogram of Rembrandt's first period. The young 
woman's fantastic costume belongs to that Oriental Utopia the 
master loved to render. Her dress of bluish gray is embroidered 
with silver, and a purple velvet mantle lined with fur, and bordered 
with gold and precious stones, is thrown across her shoulders. A 
gaily coloured scarf encircles her waist. On the table at which she 
sits are books, a suit of armour, and a lute ; a trophy consisting of a 
helmet, a sword, and a shield, in the centre of which is a Medusa's 
head, hangs against the wall. Pale and fragile, her fair hair fastened 
by a spray of delicate foliage, the young woman gazes resolutely at 
the spectator. Nothing very precise is to be gleaned either from 
costume or accessories. The technique is that of an accomplished 
artist, who has painted the objects on the table with elaborate care, 
and has done his utmost to suggest differences of texture by dexterous 
variations in the brushwork. The touch, soft and mellow in velvets 
and silks, is firm, incisive, and resolute where it expresses the hard- 



THE "RAPE OF PROSERPINE'' 83 

ness, polish, and metallic brilliance of arms and jewels. It recalls the 
sincerity and precision that mark the Presentation in the Temple at 
the Hague. But the harmony is cooler and less golden, inclining 
somewhat to gray, and the shadows of the carnations have a greenish 
tinge. 

None of the obscurity of this subject can be laid to the charge 
of its companion, the Rape of Proserpine. The theme is here 
apparent at a glance, though Rembrandt has disregarded all classical 
traditions in his treatment. It was probably painted at about the 
same date as another picture, a Rape of Etiropa, to which it may 
have been a pendant. We have been unable to find any traces 
of this latter, which bore the date 1632, and was included in the 
Due de Morny's sale in 1865. The Proserpine, however, has great 
originality, both in conception and composition. The maiden, who 
wears a robe of white overlaid with gold, has been snatched by 
the God of Hell from amono; a band of fjirlish attendants in rich 
dresses of varying grays and violets, as they gathered flowers 
in the adjoining meadow. Throwing herself back in the arms 
of her ravisher, she struggles vigorously, tearing his face with 
her nails. But Pluto, though he turns aside to avoid her onslaught, 
presses her closely to his breast. Beside himself with joy and 
triumph, he urges on the horses, who dash forward into space, with 
flaming eyes and smoking nostrils. Catching wildly at her draperies, 
Proserpine's companions strive in vain to hold her back ; the black 
waters of the Styx already gush out from beneath the feet of the 
horses, who are about to plunge into the stream. Rembrandt has 
turned the picturesque elements with which his imagination clothed 
the scene to the happiest account. A fine and appropriate effect is 
won by opposing the glowing sky and rich vegetation of the country 
to the darkness and desolation of the infernal regions. The contrast 
between the pale beauty of the victim and the strange features and 
brown skin of her future lord is no less marked. Two worlds seem 
to rise before the spectator, and each is characterised by the painter's 
happy choice of its minutest details. Note the delicate plants, tulips, 
pinks, and cornflowers, blooming in the sunshine ; the creepers hanging 
from the rocks above ; the car of the god, with its powerful wheels, and 
the golden lion, with gaping jaws and threatening fangs, carved upon 
its front ; the fantastic horses, straining furiously at the steel chains 
that link them to the car ; and, above all, the wild passion and 
impetuosity that breathe from the whole scene. Mythology, 
with which Rembrandt so rarely succeeded, inspired him happily 
for once. Brushing aside established commonplace and decora- 
tive convention, he gave reality to the hackneyed legend. His 
inventive genius transfigured it, informing it with an indescribable 
vitality and fervour that lift us at once into the higher reahns of 
poetry. 

In execution the Rape of Proserpine is as highly finished as the 
first-named picture. The cool, almost cold, tonality of the two is 

G 2 



«4 REMBRANDT 

especially characteristic of this period. In each we recognise a 
feminine type that figures in several earlier works — an oval face, with 
a small mouth, round eyes, pale complexion, and fair hair. Dr. Bode 
believes the model to have been Lysbeth, Rembrandt's young sister, 
and, from the frequent recurrence of the type at this period, he infers 
that Lysbeth had accompanied Rembrandt to Amsterdam, and was 
keeping his house. No mention is made of such an arrangement in 
any of the family records that have survived, and it seems unlikely 
that Lysbeth should have followed her brother, leaving an aged 
mother at Leyden, who probably needed her care. We know further, 
from the arrangements that were made after the mother's death, that 
Lysbeth was more especially attached to her elder brother Adriaen, 
for he then took her to live with him, and less than a year later, 
in a will dated July 24, 1641, she left the bulk of her property to him, 
subject only to a small charge in favour of her remaining brothers. 
On the other hand, there are considerations which give weight to 
Dr. Bode's theory. Remembering Rembrandt's methods, it seems 
certain that a person whom he painted so often was a member of his 
household. In addition to which, we have already pointed out that 
this young girl figures in several of the Leyden pictures, notably the 
Lot and his Daughters. She reappears in various portraits executed 
at the beginning of his sojourn at Amsterdam : one, a pendant to 
a portrait of himself, is in Lord Leconfield's collection at Petworth ; 
another is in the Brera at Milan, and a third belongs to Sir Francis 
Cook of Richmond. But we think that Dr. Bode has perhaps un- 
wittingly swelled the list of Lysbeth's portraits, by the addition 
of several that really represent Rembrandt's wife, Saskia, who, as we 
shall be able to prove, appears in the painter's work somewhat 
earlier than has been hitherto supposed. It is, in fact, difficult to 
distinguish very accurately between the two. As we have already 
explained, the works painted by Rembrandt from members of his 
family, or from intimate friends, are more in the nature of studies than 
portraits, and likeness was often subordinated to picturesque eft'ect, 
or the solution of some problem of chiaroscuro. There seems to have 
been a certain analogy between the types of the two young girls ; or it 
may be, as Dr. Bode conjectures,^ that Rembrandt, in his early 
portraits of Saskia, unconsciously gave her some of the attributes of 
his sister. 

Be this as it may, Rembrandt eagerly availed himself of the new 
models offered him in Amsterdam, though he continued to paint from 
the members of his own family. Several fresh types of old age now 
take the place of those familiar to us in the works of his Leyden 
period. Among them are two dated 1632, in the Cassel Museum. 
The first (No. 210 in the Catalogue) is a portrait of an old man with 
a bald head and gray beard, a high wrinkled forehead, and small 
eyes under overhanging brows. The face is characterised by a 

1 In an interesting study published by the Graphischen Ki'niste : Reinbrandt van Ryn 
und seirie Schule in der Lieckteyistcin Gallcrie. Vienna, 1891, 



STUDIES OF OLD MEN 



85 



mingled shrewdness and benevolence, and the handling, though 
apparently very free, is no less careful than assured. The impas'to 
is fairly thick, and is worked up very elaborately in the modelling, 
the brushing following the surfaces with great precision ; the shadows, 
on the contrary, are very simply indicated by means of a warm 
transparent wash, through which the oak panel is almost discernible. 
Certain of the transitions, notably that from beard to cheek, are 
managed with extraordinary delicacy, and the way in which the 
contours are "lost" gives as much charm as power to the relief. 
The other head in the 
Cassel Museum (No. 2 1 1) 
bears the well-known 
monogram with the affix: 
Van Ryn. It represents 
another gray-bearded old 
man, with scanty hair 
and strongly marked eye- 
brows. The features are 
somewhat larQ^e, and 
though the wrinkles, 
many and deep, tell of 
advanced age, the com- 
plexion is fresh and 
ruddy. The w^ork is 
carried out in a full im- 
pasto, with rapid fever- 
ish touches, the strokes 
sharply juxtaposed, with 
no attempt at fusion. 
As in most of the mas- 
ter's early studies, the 
hair and beard are capri- 
ciously drawn with the 
butt-end of the brush in 
the moist paint. 

Rembrandt seems to 
have had the model on the premises, or close at hand, for he painted 
him several times at this period. He is the Saiiii Peter of a 
picture in the Stockholm Museum (No. 1389 in the Catalogue), 
which bears the same date as the above, 1632, and also the signature 
R. H. van Ryn. It is interesting to note how the type has been 
modified by the artist to suit the title of his work. He has given 
greater animation and expression to the face. The saint grasps a staff 
in his right hand, and with his left presses to his breast a key, the 
symbol of the dignity just conferred upon him. A brown mantle is 
thrown across his dark dress ; full of faith and zeal, he seems ready to 
start forthwith upon his mission. The Metz Museum owns another 
head of this same old man, signed: Rembrandt, 1633, and therefore 




STUUY OK AN OLD MAN. 

1632 (Cassel Museum). 



86 REMBRANDT 

painted just a year later. But here again the work is merely a study, 
very frankly and boldly handled. The face is turned full to the 
spectator ; the strongly modelled features stand out in startling relief, 
and the somewhat coarse and downright painting is in excellent 
preservation. The Marquis d'Ourches, who left this precious relic to 
the town of Metz/ believed it to be a portrait of a member of his family, 
Charles le Goulon, a pupil of Vauban, who fled from his native town in 
1685, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and took refuge in 
Prussia. It is scarcely necessary to add that this hypothesis is in no 
wise borne out by the fancy costume and the date on the picture ; it is 
further contradicted by numerous other studies of the same person, 
evidently a model, whose energetic features had caught the artist's 
fancy. We recognise him in a life-size study of a Saint, which M. 
Sedelmeyer bought not long ago in England," and he also figures in a 
picture in the Oldenburg Museum attributed to Elevens (No. 187 in 
the Catalogue). In the latter he wears a brown robe bordered with 
fur, over a red doublet, and a gold medallion on his breast. We may 
also mention a study of a head in this Museum (No. 167 in the Cata- 
logue) dated 1632, which recalls the Simeon of the Presentation in the 
Temple. The free treatment attests the young painter's accuracy of 
observation and technical skill. The tumbled hair and grizzly beard 
are drawn, as usual, with the butt-end of the brush ; but the delicate 
transitions from hair to forehead and from beard to cheek, the dashing 
bravura of the high lights, the transparency of the shadows, and the 
vigour and brilliance of the colour, give an extraordinary effect of 
vitality. 

Studies such as these were Rembrandt's relaxation in the intervals 
of portrait-painting, for the numerous commissions that had brought 
hini to Amsterdam now occupied the greater part of his time. 
Portraiture had long enjoyed special favour in Holland. It had 
become in some measure a national specialty, to which the qualities 
of the Dutch school were peculiarly adapted. Their painters had 
excelled in this branch from the first dawn of art in the country. It 
is the kneeling donors painted on the shutters of their votive triptychs 
that engross our attention, rather than the central composition. The 
truth and vitality with which they are rendered persist even among 
mannerists such as Martin van Heemskerk and Cornells van 
Haarlem, and all must admire the truth, the dignity, and the austere 
grandeur that mark the portraits of Antonio Moro. It may perhaps 
be urged that he was a cosmopolitan, whose adventurous spirit had 
led him from his native city Antwerp, and the studio of his master 
Scorel, first to Italy, then to Madrid, Lisbon, London, and Brussels. 
But masters such as Moreelse and Mierevelt of Delft, Ravesteyn of 
the Hague, and Frans Hals of Haarlem, were pure Dutchmen. 

1 By his will, dated 1866. 

2 The composition is an exact reproduction of that of a drawing in the Louvre, from 
which Rembrandt etched the plate known as the Old Alan Studying ( Vieillard Hoimne 
de Lettres. B. 149). The plate is, however, reversed. 



THE DUTCH PORTRAIT-PAINTERS 87 

And long before they flourished, Amsterdam boasted a school of 
distinguished portrait-painters. Dirck Jacobsz, Cornelis Teunissen, 
Dirck Barentsz, and Cornelis Ketel were succeeded by the imme- 
diate predecessors of Rembrandt, Cornelis van der Voort, Werner van 
Valckert, Nicolaes Elias, and many others, whose once-famous names 
have been brought to light again in recent years, after a long 
interval of neglect. In his new home Rembrandt had oppor- 
tunities of studying, not only the best works of these masters, but a 
considerable number of portraits by Holbein, Van Dyck, Rubens, and 
the Italians, collected by rich amateurs. We may be sure that one 
so inquiring, so eager in the pursuit of knowledge, did not fail to 
profit by the advantages thus offered him. Among painters of an 
older generation than himself, then at work in Amsterdam, the most 
prominent was Thomas de Keyser, the son of the sculptor-architect, 
Hendrick de Keyser. He was from thirty-four to thirty-five years 
old at the time of Rembrandt's arrival, and had won a great and 
well-deserved reputation. The Dr. Egbertsz Lesson in Anatomy, 
now in the Ryksmuseum at Amsterdam, one of his first pictures, 
was painted in 16 19, and was followed by a series of portraits, 
some of which were single figures, others pendants, and others 
again groups, in which the various members of a family were 
assembled. A past master of every resource of his art, he combined 
faultless drawing and fine colour with the vigour and flexibility of 
a technique at once lively, tasteful, and dignified. Whether he puts 
forth all his strength in some large canvas, or proportions his 
touch to the more restricted dimensions of less important works, 
his execution is equally free and broad. Though he never parades 
his accomplishment, De Keyser shows an unfailing respect for 
reality ; and his vigorous and brilliant colouring is largely due to 
the extreme accuracy of his modelling in a full rich impasto. His 
composition is always simple, his action always natural ; while his 
technical mastery and sober dignity of treatment fairly entitle 
him to rank among the Dutch painters side by side with Hals, 
and only just below Rembrandt, the one master who surpassed 
them both. 

Before he could be accounted the rival of De Keyser, however, 
the younger artist had several lessons to learn from him. Hitherto 
he had treated his models as the fancy of the moment suggested. 
His sitters had consisted chiefly of his own friends and relations. 
In working for strangers, he was forced to renounce those freaks of 
costume, attitude, and illumination in which he had formerly deh'ghted, 
and to content himself with the habitual severity of Dutch dress, and 
a close adherence to the living model. It was also necessary that he 
should learn something of the daily lives of those who relied on his 
genius for faithful transcripts of their diverse personalities. Under 
these novel conditions he had to measure himself with rivals who had 
met and conquered the difliculties that beset him. Rembrandt 
accepted the contest on these terms. Biding his time for the full 



88 REMBRANDT 

manifestation of his genius, he resolved that in equipment at least he 
would make himself the equal of the most accomplished. Setting 
aside his own tastes and fancies, he accepted the wholesome discipline 
of a strict fidelity to nature, and a close investigation of all problems 
connected with his art. This phase of his development seems to us of 
great interest. It is touching to note the unswerving courage and 
tenacity which this youth, naturally fiery and impulsive, brought to 
bear upon his task. 

One of the earliest portraits of this period was not long since in 
Mr. Wesselhoeft's choice collection at Hamburg, which is now made 
over to the Museum of the town. It is dated 1632, and In common 
with many works of this year bears the affix: Van Ryn, after the well- 
known monogram. It is of small size, and the person represented 

seems commonplace enough on first in- 
spection. The type is a vulgar one, with 



Ol^ 



-^ Qjjn a short flat nose and round widely opened 



REMBRANDT S SIGNATURE. 



eyes under thick eyebrows. Their expres- 
sion, however, is keen and penetrating ; 
the mouth, with its small curled moustache, 
is full of subtlety, and the bare head, crowned by a mass of hair, 
is set well on the shoulders. The dress is extremely simple. The 
careful execution, and the full and vigorous tonality, though not up 
to De Keyser's level, recall certain small pictures by him. From an 
inscription on the back of the panel, we learn th^at this apparently 
austere personage was Maurice Huygens, Secretary to the Council 
of the States at the Hague, and brother of that Constantine Huygens. 
who, as we know, professed so great an admiration for Rembrandt. 
Such a commission from a person of Maurice's rank proves that 
Rembrandt's reputation was already considerable. 

Several more important works of this period bear out the pre- 
sumption. One of these, the so-called Portrait of Coppenol in the 
Cassel Museum (No. 212 in the Catalogue), represents a man in black, 
standing near a table covered with books and papers. He holds a pen 
daintily in his left hand, and cuts it with the pen-knife in his right. 
The picture is not dated, but we think it may certainly be assigned to 
the year 1632. This opinion we base not only on the execution but 
on the fact that the monogram is followed by the designation: van 
Ryn, a signature almost exclusively confined to 1632, and only to be 
found on a single later work, one of the Philosophers in the Louvre, 
painted in 1633.^ The identity of the sitter has been contested of late, 
though the picture figures as a portrait of Coppenol in an inventory of 
1749, and in G. Hoet's Catalogue of 1752. On comparison of the 
portrait with one in the Hermitage, and with Rembrandt's two etchings 
of Coppenol (B. 282 and 283), Dr. Bode came to the conclusion that 
there were notable differences, especially in the shape of the nose. 
With regard to the two etchings, there is no possible doubt that they 

^ It occurs once more, but quite at the close of the master's career, on a Return of the 
Prodigal, in the Hermitage, painted about 1668. 



PORTRAITS OF COPPENOL 



89 



are portraits of Coppenol. The likeness between the two, and the in- 
scriptions on several of the proofs, finally dispose of the question; and, 
though there is no date on either, we shall show, in due course, that 
one was executed in 165 1, and the other in 165S. It will hardly be 
disputed that notable changes may have taken place in the sitter's 
appearance during the intervals of nineteen and twenty-seven years 
that divide the Cassel picture from these two plates respectively. But 
though the type is fuller and heavier in the etchings, we cannot trace 
any essential differences between it and that of the picture. There are 
the same medium-sized 
nose, small eyes, and 
high forehead — the same 
cut of the beard and 
moustache — and even in 
the picture there are in- 
dications of the double 
chin which is so pro- 
nounced a feature of the 
prints. The apparent 
age of the sitter agrees 
perfectly with what we 
know of Coppenol, who 
was born in 1598. The 
person represented is 
evidently a man of about 
thirty-four, which was 
Coppenol's age in 1632. 
Whoever the model may 
have been, the portrait 
is unquestionably one of 
the most remarkable 
painted by Rembrandt at 
this period. The placid 
honest face that confronts 
the spectator is full of a 
naive satisfaction. This 

expression, and the gravity with which the writer cuts his pen, as if 
profoundly engrossed by his important occupation, are further proof, 
in our opinion, that the sitter was the famous writing-master, whose 
vanity was proverbial, and who, according to tradition, formed an 
early friendship with Rembrandt. 

We are less inclined to vouch for another so-called portrait of 
Coppenol in the Hermitage (No. SoS in the Catalogue), formerly in 
Count Briihl's collection. The appellation is more modern than 
that of the Cassel picture, for in the selections from the Brlihl 
collection, published at Dresden in 1754, this portrait bears no dis- 
tinctive title. There are also notable differences in the type. The 
eyes are less round, and much more piercing ; the nose is thinner. 




PORTRAIT OF COPI-ENOU 

About 1632 (Cassel Museum) 



go REMBRANDT 

and the moustache thicker. The sitter is placed before a table, on 
which stands a small bureau, with a number of books and papers. 
He certainly holds a pen in his hand, but the characters on the 
half-written sheet before him are by no means choice specimens of 
callq-raphy. They have none of the complicated flourishes and 
embellishments with which a virtuoso such as Coppenol would 
have adorned the page. The model, in our opinion, was simply 
some honest merchant, busy over an account in the ledgers 
before him. Dr. Bode assigns the picture to the year 1631, and 
in fact discovered this date upon it. We have been unable to 
decipher more than the first three figures, but the monogram used, 
and the style of the execution, make the date a very probable one. 

Another portrait, bearing the same monogram, and the date 
1632, was formerly in Cardinal Fesch's collection, and now belongs 
to Captain Holford. It represents a man in the prime of life, dressed 
in black, with a white ruff and cuffs. He wears a high black hat ; 
his right hand is laid upon his breast, and in his left he holds a 
paper on which is written : Marten Looten, a name not uncommon 
in Amsterdam at the period, but referring In this case to a well- 
known merchant of the city. The work is a remarkable one, carried 
out in a rich impasto at once firm and supple : the skilful handling, 
which shows no trace of effort or hesitation, recalls the manner of 
Thomas de Keyser. The same broad yet conscientious workman- 
ship marks the portrait of a young woman, seated, and wearing 
a black dress with white collar and head-dress, in the Vienna 
Academy. It bears the same date and monogram. We may 
add to the list of works thus signed a male portrait which we 
saw not long ago in the possession of Mr. Quarles van Ufford 
at the Hague. It Is a three-quarters length of a man of fine 
presence, with regular features and luxuriant hair. He faces 
the spectator, wearing a military costume with a gold embroidered 
baldrick, and resting his left hand on a sword. His right hand 
grasps a gun. According to a study on one of Rembrandt's 
pupils, Paulus Lesire of Dordrecht, published by Messrs. G. 
Veth and Bredlus in Ottd- Holland, this martial sitter was probably 
a certain Captain J oris de Caulery, who seems to have had a 
mania for portraits of himself. He was painted in turn by 
M. Uytenbroeck, J, Lievens, P. Lesire, Van Dyck, and Rembrandt, 
who represented him " with a gun in his hand." As Mr. van 
Ufford's portrait is the only one by the master in which we have 
been able to discover this weapon, there seems every reason to 
suppose it the picture In question. 

In addition to these single portraits, Rembrandt painted several 
pairs, of husband and wife, and, in cases where the two have 
tound their way into the same collection, it is very interesting 
to note the combinations of costume or attitude by which 
the painter seeks to make each enhance the effect of the 
other. This is specially the case in two large oval portraits, 



I 



FAMILY PORTRAITS 



91 



which have lately passed to America from the collection of the 
Princesse de Sagan. In the male portrait, signed, and dated 
1632 like the rest, the face, beaming with health and vigour, 
looks full at the spectator from beneath the broad brim of a black 
hat.^ The wife, who is also painted almost full-face, has a 
somewhat sickly appearance. The handling is marked by great 
refinement, and there is infinite delicacy in the passage from the 
somewhat cold lights of the carnations to their transparent shadows. 

We may further note 
(though merely by way 
of record, for we have 
not seen them) a pair of 
large portraits of a man 
and his wife, formerly 
belonging to the Beere- 
steyn family," to which 
Dr. Bode recently drew 
attention on the occasion 
of their purchase by an 
American for presenta- 
tion to the Museum of 
New York.^ In a pair 
of portraits in the Bel- 
vedere, probably painted 
about this same year, 
1632, to judge by the 
execution,* the arrange- 
ment of the two with a 
view to their mutual 
effect is even more ob- 
vious. The separate 
pictures seem to form 
one harmonious compo- 
sition. The husband, a 
man of refined and dis- 
tinguished appearance, is turned three quarters to the front. He seems 

1 The features of this person, and even his costume, recall those of Dr. Tulp in the 
Anatomy Lesson, and this resemblance justifies the very prevalent belief that the portraits 
represent Tulp and his wife. It would not be easy, however, to determine whether the 
commission for the Anatomy Lesson was given after the execution of the portraits, or 
whether the success of the former picture brought about the painting of the portraits, for 
all three belong to the same year. 

- The signature and date on these two pictures were discovered on the occasion of a 
sale held by the Beeresteyn family at their chataiu of Maurik, near Vccht, October 24th, 
1884. The bidding rose rapidly to 75,000 florins, at which price they were bought in 
by the owners, who had been apprised of the discovery. 

^ Miindmier neueste Nachrichten, July 9, 1890. 

* The date 1630 suggested by Mr. Engerth in his Catalogue (Nos. 1139 and 1140), 
and based by him on the somewhat cold tonality of the shadows, seems to be inad- 
missible. Rembrandt was incapable of such work at that date, and the portraits are 
unlike anything he produced at Leyden. 




PORTKAIT OF JORIS UE CAULERV. 
1632. 



92 



REMBRANDT 



to* be Speaking, and claims his wife's attention by a gesture. She, 
seated near a table, looks lovingly towards him, and mutely acquiesces 
in his speech. Neither wife nor husband is remarkable for personal 
beauty. But the mtelligent vivacity of the man's face, the sweet- 
ness and affectionate confidence that beam from the dark eyes 
of his companion, and the devotion with which she listens to 
him, far from weakening the individual likeness, add the crowning 
touches of vitality. The young master, not content with a mere 
application of the technical skill he had acquired, was evidently 
anxious to produce a lifelike and expressive work. He sought 
not to discard but to rejuvenate tradition. He spared himself 
no pains, m spite of his great facility and rich natural 
gifts, and Houbraken tells us that it was his habit to make 
innumerable sketches before attacking his final conception. He 
considered it of vital importance to know exactly what he was 
attempting, and to plan out his creations, not only as a whole, 
but in the smallest details. Thanks to this initial effort, into 
which he threw himself heart and soul, he went at once to the 
root of the matter. The harmony in which his active imagina- 
tion and powerful will worked together was one of the distinctive 
, traits of his character. We shall find him full of energy and 
animation at every point of his career, regardless of sorrows 
and advancing age. Such careful and scrupulous effort, conjoined 
with such facility, such absolute sincerity of expression, united to 
such conscientious vigilance, ensured him the sufi"rages alike of his 
brother-artists and of the public. His reputation and popularity 
increased steadily. He was already a painter of note when his 
great opportunity came with the Lesson in Anatomy — the work 
that was to proclaim the full measure of his genius, and of his 
superiority to his rivals. 



\i^'mji.)\tj: 




■^ JO^ 




l^L 


L^ 


j^^^H 


Kp 


^dSJBgwi^fcfllra 


^KM 


^^^E^^F^T' ^^^^' .^^- '^'^^A 1 '**^ '^ ~^^^^^^^H 


iP^^^^^-i 


H' 


^B. ■>>'■.■■ "jiT-.-y'-f 


W , 


'SMHMMHHi 


W^S^L- 



kemrkandt's mother. 
About 1632 (B. 344). 










.-^^6!»»<pig^<i>w»K 




■ft* 



PEN DRAWING WASHED WITH SEPIA. 

(Duke of Devonshire's CoUeciioc ) 



CHAPTER VII 



THE IMPORTANCE OF CORPORATION PICTURES IN HOLLAND — THE 'ANATOMY- 
THEATRES ' PICTURES OF ' ANATOMY-LESSONS ' IN ITALY AND HOLLAND — REM- 

PRANDt's PREDECESSORS IN THIS GENRE: AERT PIETERSEN, MICHIEL MIEREVELT, 
NICOLAES ELIAS, AND THOMAS DE KEVSER — DR. TULP — REMBRANDT's 'LESSON IN 

anatomy' (1632). 




T 



H ROUGH OUT all acres and countries 
great things have been effected by 
the spirit of co-operation, and no- 
where have its results been more remarkable 
than in Holland. By its means, the Dutch 
fashioned their territory, and afterwards de- 
fended it against the sea; it nerved them in 
the heroic struggle by which their political 
and religious independence was won ; and 
finally, by concentrating all the vital forces 
of the nation in common action, it effected 
a material and moral greatness truly astonish- 
ing in view of their insignificant dominions, 
and the enormous difficulties attending their development. It 
was natural that the numerous corporations which embodied 
this spirit of national enterprise should exercise no small infiucnce 
on Dutch art. Their important share in its development was, 
however, hardly suspected till the foundation of the Haarlem 
Museum, with its fine series of the works of Hals. It has 
since been brilliantly demonstrated by the establishment of the 
Ryksmuseum of Amsterdam, and the gathering together of the great 
canvases formerly scattered among the different hospitals and 
guild-halls of the city. Under these new conditions, the student 



OLD MAN WITH A BALD HEAD. 

About 1632 (B. 296). 



94 REMBRANDT 

may readily trace the parallel growth of national art and national 
history. 

Religious painting, or at least that branch of the art which had for 
its object the decoration of churches, disappeared from the Nether- 
lands after the triumph of the reformed faith. Court patronage ceased 
with the removal of the Catholic clergy. But the corporations 
hastened to fill the breach, and soon opened fresh fields to the activity 
of Dutch painters. The heads of associations were painted in the robes 
and insignia of their dignity. Their portraits, hanging in council- 
chamber or banquet-hall, were so many exhortations to the brethren, 
urging them to follow the example of devotion, patriotism, or charity 
set them by their predecessors. By these means, miniature museums 
were gradually formed in every large town, and enriched by successive 
donations due to the gratitude of members, or the vanity of dignitaries. 
The idea of a portrait-group soon occurred to both. The vanity of 
each class found satisfaction in such a scheme. The chiefs, because 
their superior honours were more apparent thus surrounded by their 
satellites ; the inferior members, because this was their only chance of 
figuring in such pictures. The painters, as may be supposed, fell in 
readily enough with arrangements which did not debar them from 
more interesting tasks, while providing them with lucrative com- 
missions. Payment was generally made by voluntary contributions, 
proportioned to the rank of each sitter. By this device all were 
satisfied, the individual outlay being small, though the artist made a 
reasonable profit. There were, however, other difiiculties to be met, 
for all these sitters had to be brought into unity by some common 
action characteristic of the special association to which they belonged. 
This was comparatively easy in the case of the military guilds, by far 
the most important of these bodies. But we shall find that the first 
essays of painters in this field were halting and tentative, their progress 
slow and painful. Literary and scientific associations offered very 
unequal facilities in the matter of picturesque treatment. In the case 
of the former, it was no easy matter to exactly specify the nature of 
their studies. How, for instance, was a painter to discriminate 
between professors of law, history, and literature ? In dealing with 
the sciences, his task was simpler. These it was possible to symbolise 
more explicitly by characteristic episodes, or attributes. The study of 
medicine, in particular, lent itself readily to such treatment. It had 
long been held in peculiar honour among the Dutch, and its import- 
ance had greatly increased during the long warfare of the nation. 
The great diversity of wounds inflicted by fire-arms was the occasion 
of incessant research and progress in the domain of surgery; but such 
investigations could have no solid basis without a more extensive 
knowledge of the human frame than was then obtainable. Despite the 
impetus given to science by the Reformation, such study was jealously 
restricted for a long time to come. It was not until 1555 that Philip II. 
agreed to authorise the dissection of corpses, and even then, such 
dissection was limited to the bodies of condemned criminals. It was 



ANATOMICAL STUDIES IN HOLLAND 95 

violently opposed by the nation at large, the popular disapproval 
being mainly dictated by religious scruples based on the doctrine of the 
resurrection. Several of the most intelligent men of the day made 
themselves the spokesmen of the dissentients. Hugo de Groot 
declared that the ancients, who had produced so many famous 
physicians, knew nothing of such " torture chambers for the dead." 
He declaimed against " the useless cruelties practised by the living on 
the dead" as "sacrilegious profanation." 

Gradually, however, those higher interests of humanity which were 
involved won the day, and dissections became more frequent. Among 
those who contributed most powerfully to this result was the famous 
Doctor Pieter Paauw, born at Amsterdam in 1564, who had returned 
from his travels eager to introduce into his own country the system he 
had seen at work in Italy. Appointed professor of botany and 
anatomy at Leyden in 1589, he had thrown himself ardently into his 
work, organising botanical expeditions three or four times a year, to 
explore the neighbouring meadows, dunes, and marshes. But his 
zeal and enterprise showed to greatest advantage in his anatomical 
lectures. In spite of which, however, the total number of bodies he 
had been able to obtain for dissection during his twenty-two years 
of professorship amounted only to sixty. For many years to come the 
Universities had to rely entirely on the corpses of criminals handed 
over to them by justice. It was not until 1720 that the first dissection 
of a female corpse was performed by Professor Frederick Ruysch, the 
father of the famous flower-painter, Rachel Ruysch. 

From the moment that such experiments were legalised, 
physicians and surgeons fully recognised the value of the resources 
placed at their disposal, and the various anatomical preparations of 
which they made use in teaching, became the natural ornaments 
of their lecture - halls. These halls were fitted with concen- 
tric tiers of benches, with an open space in the middle for the 
professor, and a revolving table, on which the various objects 
necessary to his demonstration were placed before him. This 
.arrangement, which was based on that of the theatres of antiquity, 
gave rise to the term Theatre of Anatomy. The first row of seats 
was reserved for the professor's colleagues, and persons of distinction, 
the second for surgeons and students, while the rest were open to 
the public. The Universities and Guilds of various towns, Leyden, 
Delft, and Amsterdam, soon vied with each other in decorating these 
halls with busts, minerals, anatomical preparations, and natural curiosities 
of every sort. Rembrandt had already seen one of these theatres at 
Leyden — the most famous indeed then in existence. Its construction 
had been directed and superintended by its promoter, Pieter Paauw. 
An exact reproduction of its general appearance has come down to 
us in the collection of prints already mentioned. The plate 
engraved by Swanenburch in 1610 ^ shows us a dissecting-tablc with 

^ Under the title, Vera Anatomia Lugduni Batavic cum silcctis et rcliquis <jim ibi 
extant delineatis. 



96 



REMBRANDT 



a corpse already opened upon it. Along the circular benches are 
arrani^ed skeletons of various animals, stuffed birds and beasts, and 
human skeletons, holding banners on which are mottoes or philo- 
sophical maxims in the prevailing taste : Mors 7iltima linea rei'uin ; 
Nascentes moi'innir; Principmm moricncii natalis est, &c. Scalpels, 
knives, saws, and other surgical instruments are exhibited in glass 
cases, for these halls rapidly became museums much frequented by 
the curious, and even by ladies. In Swanenburch's engraving, a 
lady is being shown round by an inhabitant of the house, who 
does the honours, and, with gallantry worthy of Diafoirus, gracefully 
tenders her the skin he has removed from one of the subjects. 
These strange sights were very popular while their novelty lasted. 
Visitors of both sexes came in crowds, and wc learn from a con- 
temporary description of Leyden that on market days, the peasants 
of the neighbouring districts flocked to the University lecture-rooms. 
M. de Monconys, who visited the Leyden Theatre of Anatomy in 
1663, praised it as " prettily devised, with an amphitheatre of wood- 
work, which is kept very clean," and mentions that it contained " a 
o-reat number of skeletons, both of men and animals, and many 
curiosities." ^ 

Portraits of the most famous professors also adorned these 
museums, and either at the request of their models, or on their 
own initiative, artists commissioned to paint the professors soon 
beo^an to represent them at their work, surrounded by their pupils, 
and by objects relating to their lectures. In painting these subjects, 
the Dutch were but following the example of the Italians, whose 
painters and sculptors, as is well known, took as keen an interest in 
anatomical studies as their physicians and surgeons. Strange to say, 
the two first works in this genre were published in Venice, between 
which city and Amsterdam such strong analogies may be found in 
situation, in commercial prosperity, and in intellectual and artistic 
activity. The earlier of the two occurs in a Treatise on Medicine 
edited by Johannes de Ketham, a German domiciled in Italy. Plate 
XXVI. in the second edition of this treatise (Venice, 1493), represents 
the professor, lecturing, hat on head, from his rostrum. On a table 
at his feet lies a naked corpse, whose chest an operator prepares to 
open. An assistant seems to be pointing out the exact spot for the 
insertion of the scalpel. In a treatise by Jacopo Berengerio da Carpi, 
published some forty years later (Venice, 1535), we find a plate of 
an anatomy lesson, in which the arrangement is almost the same. 
But it was reserved for Vesalius to collect and digest the sum of 
contemporary knowledge on this subject in his work On the Structure 
of the Hitman Body.' The plates in this volume were of such 
peculiar excellence that they long passed for the work of Titian.^ 

"^ Journal des Voyaj^es dc JSI. de Alonconys : Voyage en HoUande en 1663. Lyons. 1677. 
2 AndrcB Vesali Bruxellensis Scholce mtdicoruin Patavinx professoris : De huma7ii 
corporis fabrica, libri scptem. Basle. June, 1543. 

2 They are now known to have been drawn by Jan van Calcar. 



DUTCH DISSECTING ROOMS 



97 



One among them, the frontispiece, has a special interest for us. It is 
a Lesson in Anatomy, with certain of the details studied from life, but 
forming in the main a composition somewhat in the manner of the 
School of Athens. The action takes place in a sort of rotunda with 
columns; a concourse of persons in various attitudes crowds the arena 
and the circular seats. Vesalius stands in the centre at a dissecting- 
table, on which a corpse faces the spectator, the stomach already- 
opened. By the professor's side is a taper, with an inkbottle, a 
sponge, and various surgical instruments. In his right hand he holds 
a scalpel, which he rests on the edge of the wound; the left he holds 
up, pointing with his forefinger to emphasise his exposition. A huge 
skeleton rises behind him ; grouped around are assistants, some 
sharpening their knives, 
and scholars, some ab- 



VFRA <V^TOMI.t LUCrmNO-BATAVt CUM SCtLETIS ET Rl 




THE THEATRE OF ANATOMY AT LEVDEN. 

Facsimile of Swanenburch's engraving (i6io). 



sorbed in the lesson, 
others discussing it. To 
the left, one of the pupils 
holds a monkey in a 
leash, and another a dog, 
the victims no doubt of 
an approaching experi- 
ment. The whole scene 
is full of life and move- 
ment. In the tail-pieces 
and initials the decora- 
tive motives are of a 
similar character : chil- 
dren dissecting animals, 
or fragments of the 
human body; others set- 
ting a skull to boil, or 
performing surgical oper- 
ations. All such details testify to the passionate interest excited 
by research of this kind, which in Italy no less than in Holland 
had met with much opposition before its formal acceptance in 
the domain of science. In his preface, Vesalius speaks of the 
support given to the cause by Charles V. and expresses a hope 
that Philip II. will continue the favour shown it by his father, and 
will not allow himself to be prejudiced by the intrigues of antiquated 
detractors.^ 

In the engravings we have described, the Italians, with the taste and 
natural aptitude so characteristic of them, pointed out the pictorial 
capabilities of a branch of art towards which they themselves showed 
little inclination. They never painted these compositions, and made 
use of them only for illustrations in books on special subjects. Their 

^ The greater part of the information relating to pictures of anatomical lectures is 
borrowed from a curious publication by Dr. Ludwig Choulant, Geschichte und Biblio- 
graphie der a7iatomischen Abbildungen. Leipzig. 1852. 

II 



98 



REMBRANDT 



painters had no lack of other themes, more in accordance with Italian 
taste and tradition, and better calculated to find favour with the princes 
and clergy, their natural protectors. On the other hand, these subjects, 
intractable as they seemed, were well adapted to Dutch art, an art 
always swift to observe and eager to interpret the manifestations of 
national life. The first essays of the Dutch painters were not, 
however, strikingly successful. Their realism was more uncompromis- 
ing, their taste less refined, their composition less dexterous, than those 
of the Italians. Such shortcomings manifested themselves in various 
attempts, more or less untoward, to which Mr. Vosmaer first drew 
attention.^ But here again, as in every branch of their activity, the 
entire sincerity and unconquerable perseverance of the Dutch at last 
bore fruit, building up, out of their very difficulties, pregnant and 
original works. 

The first essay in this genre now extant is the Anato7ny Lesson of 
Dr. Sebastian Egbertsz de Vry, which, after long adorning its original 
destination, the hall of the Surgeons' Guild at Amsterdam, has been 
removed to the Ryksmuseum. The picture is dated 1603, ^-^^^ signed 
with the initials of its author, Aert Pietersen, flanked on either side by 
his family cipher, the fuller's trident, with which his father, the famous 
Pieter Aertsen, also signed his works. The professor, an important 
personage in his time, successively echevin and burgomaster of 
Amsterdam, delivers his lecture, his left hand resting upon the corpse 
before him, a pair of scissors in his right. The foreshortened body is 
partially hidden by the assistants in front. The numerous auditors, 
youths and men of mature age, face the spectator, standing with 
uncovered heads, and gesticulating in various attitudes. They are 
ingenuously ranged one above the other in parallel lines, and far from 
seeming to be absorbed in the lesson, they look neither at the professor 
nor the corpse ; all eyes are turned towards the spectator. The hands are 
well drawn, and there is considerable character in the various heads. 
But the work lacks the force of expression and breadth of handling 
that make a masterpiece of the painter's Syndics of the Cloth Hall. 
The latter is nevertheless earlier by some four years ; it is dated March, 
1599. But the verve, the ease and assurance, so admirable in this 
group were hardly to be looked for in the same degree in a work of 
less importance, the execution of which, as we learn from Dr. Tilanus, 
was impeded by endless delays and obstacles." Begun in 1601, this 
Anatomy Lesson was not finished till 1603. Five of the doctors 
represented were carried off by the plague in the interval, while the 
others were kept so ceaselessly employed by it that they had no leisure 
to sit. 

The next in chronological order is the Anatomy Lesson of Dr. 
Willem van der Meer, a large canvas painted for the Delft Hospital, 
where it is still preserved. According to its Latin inscription, it was 

^ Les Lemons (TAfiatomie dajis la Feinture hollandaise. See V Art for 1877, vol. ii. 
P- 73- 

- Beschryving der Schilderyen afkomstig van het Chirurgvns-Giid te Amsterdam . 1885. 



REMBRANDT'S PREDECESSORS 99 

designed and begun by Michiel Mierevelt, and finished by his son 
Pieter in 16 17. Here, though the execution is inferior to that of 
Pietersen's picture, the arrangement is better, and the professor, who 
stands in the centre of the circular reserved space, is more in 
evidence. But the audience seems perfectly indifferent to the lesson, 
and the painter, instead of sparing us the more revolting details of 
his subject, seems to have taken pleasure in dwelling on them. The 
entrails are visible in the gaping abdomen of the corpse, and a further 
grim touch is given in the smoke of aromatic balls thrown on a chafing- 
dish to neutralise the putrid exhalations. 

Another picture in the Ryksmuseum represents Dr. Egbertsz giving 
a lesson in osteology to six students only. This, the earliest known work 
of Thomas de Keyser, painted in 16 19, was probably commissioned for 
the inauguration of the anatomical theatre of the Surgeons' Guild, which 
was opened in this year. The painter was barely twenty-three, and, 
though the commission proves that his reputation was already consider- 
able among his fellow-citizens, the work itself shows a plentiful lack of 
experience. The skeleton divides the composition vertically into two 
almost equal parts, in which the figures are symmetrically opposed ; 
two in the foreground on each side seated, and facing the spectator, 
the other four standing, and turned towards the skeleton. To avoid 
all possibility of mistake, numbers are placed over the heads of 
each, corresponding to those against their names in the list. The 
various personalities are ably suggested, though the modelling of 
the heads is summary enough; while the too lavish display of 
vermilion on their cheek-bones recalls the carnations of Cornells van 
der Voort, and gives additional strength to the hypothesis that De 
Keyser was his pupil. 

Finally, another of Rembrandt's predecessors, Nicolaes Elias, 
who divided the popular favour with De Keyser, painted an 
Anatomy Lesson for the hall of the Guild. The work, which is now 
in the Ryksmuseum, was ordered on September 6, and delivered 
a year later, on October 15, 1626. It represents Professor Johann 
Holland, called Fonteyn, physician to the Prince of Orange, lec- 
turing on a skull. He is surrounded by eleven persons, among 
whom are the four dignitaries of the Guild. But of the twelve 
portraits originally contained in the work five have disappeared, 
in consequence of damages caused by the fire of November 8, 
1723. The remainder were much injured, and were restored and 
partly repainted by Ouinckhard in 1785. It is therefore impossible 
to form any opinion as to the merit of a work which, in its 
present state, seems vastly inferior to the admirable group of the 
Four Regents of the Spinhuis, painted by Elias shortly afterwards, 
in 1628. 

Thus far, such had been the chief productions of a genre in 
which Rembrandt, after his first successes as a portraitist, was 
called upon to try his strength in the beginning of 1632, when Dr. 
Tulp commissioned him to paint the picture he wished to present 

H 2 



lOO 



REMBRANDT 



to the Surgeons' Guild in memory of his professorship. With the 
exception, perhaps, of the Delft example, all these compositions 
must have been familiar to the artist, for they all figured in the 
hall for Avhich his own work was designed. It is very likely that 
Vesalius's book was also known to him, for successive editions had 
been published in Holland with great success. One of these indeed 
had appeared at Leyden, in 1616, with notes by P. Paauw. The 
latter had himself published a work on human anatomy a year 
earlier, entitled : Primiticu anatomicce de huniani cor'poris ossibus. It 
contained a quarto plate, engraved by Andreas Stock, after a drawing 
by Jakob de Gheyn, representing the professor in a long robe, 




VIEW OF THE GATE OF ST. ANTHONY, AMSTERDAM. 

(The entrance to the Theatre of Anatomy was in the tower to the right.) 
(Drawing by Boudier, after a photograph.) 



engaged on the dissection of a corpse, into the entrails of which 
he has plunged his hands. A lighted taper is placed beside him, 
and scented plants are strewn upon the ground to counteract the 
poisonous smell. A crowd of persons of all ages and conditions 
surrounds the professor and his assistants. 

The Professor Tulp who gave Rembrandt the commission was 
one of the most distinguished men of the day. But the name 
he made famous was merely a pseudonym borrowed from 
the tulip (in Dutch, tulpeii) carved upon the facade of his house. 
His real name was Claes Pietersz. He was the son of a rich 
Amsterdam merchant, one Pieter Dircksz. Born October 9, 1593, 
he was in his full prime in 1632. He had been one of the most 
enthusiastic advocates of anatomical studies, and shordy (in 1636) 



PROFESSOR TULP loi 

succeeded in bringing about a complete reorganisation of pharmacy, 
which had gradually fallen into great disorder. His high reputation 
was due as much to his benevolence as to his talents, and his 
life fully bore out the device on one of his portraits : A His inserviendo 
consiunor} Qualities such as these combined with his progressive 
energy to bring him prominently before his fellow-citizens. He 
was chosen dchevin (sheriff) in 1622, and held the office of burgomaster 
no less than four times. Tulp had been professor of anatomy since 
1628 : he lectured twice a week in a room above the lesser Meat 
Market. When, in 1639, a hall was assigned to the Guild in the 
Gate of St. Anthony, Rembrandt's picture was removed thither. It 
has been twice carefully re-lined (in 1S17 and i860), and was cleaned 
in 1732. In 1 78 1 Ouinckhard "repaired Dr. Tulpius's cloak." The 
work fortunately escaped more severe handling. It has lately under- 
gone a judicious cleaning, and is, on the whole, in fairly good 
condition. But Holland has narrowly escaped losing it altogether. 
In 1828 the funds of the Surgeons' Guild were so reduced that 
it was found impossible to give sufficient relief to the widows of 
destitute members. The authorities decided to sell some of their 
pictures, and, among others, the Lesson in Anatomy. Had it been 
put up to public auction it would very probably have been taken 
out of the country, but at the instance of a few amateurs William I. 
bought it for the sum of 32,000 florins (^2,700 approximately), at 
which price it had been valued by experts. 

The main features of this work, now one of the gems of the Hague 
Museum, are familiar to all. It is also generally known that in signing 
it the master discarded the monogram he had been in the habit of 
using, and wrote his name in full, spelt as below : 



KCMBRANDTS SIGNATITRE. 



Tulp, who wears a broad-brimmed felt hat, is seated in a vaulted hall 
at a dissecting-table, on which the corpse is laid obliquely. The 
professor holds up one of the tendons of the left arm with a pair of 
forceps, and seems to be enforcing his demonstration by a gesture of 
his left hand. Seven students," all men of mature age, are grouped to 

^ In addition to the marble bust carved by A. Quellinus, several engravings by C. van 
Dalen and J. Visschcr, and Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson, Tulp was painted in 1624 
by Cornelis van der Voort, and in 1633 or 1634 by Elias, probably in recognition of 
his services to the paintei's little daughter. See an interesting notice by Dr. J- Six, 
Nicolaes Elias : Ovd-Ilolland, 1S86, p. 95. 

- Not " students " in the ordinary sense. Were they not, like Tulp himself, actual 
practitioners, though less learned in anatomy? — F. IV. 



102 REMBRANDT 

the rio-ht round the corpse, at whose feet lies a great open volume.^ 
All are bareheaded, and all, like their master, dressed in black, except 
the man nearest to Tulp on the right, who wears a dress of neutral 
tint, inclining to violet. Broad white collars, stiffened or hanging 
loosely about their necks, enframe their faces. With the exception of 
two, who look out towards the spectator, all are intent on the 
demonstration. As in De Keyser's picture, numbers are placed over 
their heads, and their nam.es are inscribed in the following order on a 
paper held by one of them: i. Tulp; 2. Jacob Blok ; 3. Hartman 
Hartmansz; 4. Adriaen Slabran ; 5. Jacob de Witt; 6. Mathys 
Kalkoen ; 7. Jacob Koolvelt ; 8. Frans van Loenen. The figures. 
painted life-size and three-quarters length, are illuminated by a soft 
light from the left, which is concentrated on the corpse, on the heads 
of the two seated auditors in the foreground, and on the face of Tulp, 
whose calm attitude, air of authority, and expression of confident 
intelligence at once rivet attention. A transparent penumbra, 
deepening by imperceptible gradations above, envelopes the 
rest. The unmitigated black of the dresses, the depressed whites 
of the collars, the tones of the carnations, the pallor of the corpse, 
and the neutral gray of the wall make up the sober chord of 
colour. 

We may admit, with Fromentin, that "the general tone is neither 
warm nor cold, but simply yellow"; that "the handling is thin and 
unimpassioned ; that the effect is rather startling than strong ; and that 
there is little richness either in the stuffs, the background, or the 
atmosphere." We may even agree with him that the corpse is puffy 
and ill-constructed, and shows a want of knowledge in the modelling ; 
that it is too obviously a mass of pale light in a dark picture, and thus 
" has neither the beauty, the horror, the characteristic accidents, nor 
the terrible impressiveness of death." But we think the able critic has 
scarcely done justice to the w^ork. For, as indeed he adds, " it marks 
a stage of great advance in the painter's career . . . and though it 
does not fully indicate his approaching greatness, it gives some hint 
thereof." Such a rigorous criticism, though it hardly gives due weight 
to the progress made by the master, may be accepted so far as it 
measures Rembrandt's work by his own achievements of a few years 
later. But it seems inadequate when we compare his composition 
with those of his predecessors. When we consider the earlier 
Anato77iy Lessons, and recall the confused assemblies, in which the 
most revolting details are rendered with manifest enjoyment ; the 
figures ranged side by side, with a synmietry or an irregularity alike 
disastrous ; the audience, with eyes fixed on the spectator, utterly 
oblivious of the master and his lesson ; the diffused light, equally 
distributed throughout the composition, and bringing its want of unity 
and faults of taste into strong relief ; when, after the contemplation of 

^ The name of the criminal whose corpse was the subject of Tulp's lecture has been 
preserved. He was one Adriaen Adriaensz, known as het kint (the child). Iconographia 
Batata, by E. Moes. J. Clausen. 1890. 




4^ 

s 



O 



>N 



SUCCESS OF "THE ANATOMY LESSON" 103 

such essays, we turn to Rembrandt's conception, its immeasurable 
superiority cannot fail to be recognised. His work, indeed, is not 
fauldess, and exception may jusdy be taken to the awkward grouping 
of his figures, which are ranged pyramidically one above the other in the 
fashion we have already had to criticise in several of his works, notably 
the Samson and Delilah and the Baptism of the Etimich. The 
handling, which is somewhat thin throughout, shows traces of timidity 
here and there ; and the chiaroscuro is hesitating in parts. We need 
not go into the question (a particularly unprofitable one, in our opinion) 
as to whether the picture is, or is not, an absolute masterpiece. But, 
with the reservations we have noted, we shall find many beauties to 
admire ; foremost among them the figure of Tulp, its happy simplicity 
of pose, its decision and vigour of expression, and the intelligent faces 
of the two disciples nearest the master, who hang upon every word, 
gazing intently at him, and endeavouring to penetrate his inmost 
thought. But the composition in its entirety is more striking than 
any of these fragmentary excellences. It is remarkable for the 
sobriety of the details, their perfect subordination, and the elimination 
of all such as by their puerility or vulgarity might impair the gravity of 
the subject. The arrangement of the masses appeals alike to the eye 
and the mind of the spectator, bringing out the essential features in 
strong relief : on the one side the listeners in a compact group ; 
the corpse, the object of their common studies, between them and 
the professor ; and Tulp himself, placed, like the corpse, in a strong 
light, but apart from the rest, the attention of the spectator being 
directed to him by the convergence of the principal lines, by the 
concentration of all eyes upon him, and finally by his own commanding 
gesture and authoritative mien. In these respects it must be conceded 
that Rembrandt fully carried out the proposed conditions of his 
undertaking. His work ably suggests the idea of scientific teaching 
as it was then understood — of scientific teaching, that is to say, 
which concerns itself rather with facts than with abstractions. His 
predecessors, it is true, had insisted on these facts, but they had failed 
to make them rightly pictorial. Rembrandt's treatment was at once 
more convincing and more elevated; and, while basing his conception 
on a realism as precise as theirs, he gave to his very characteristic 
interpretation a significance loftier in quality and wider in appli- 
cation. Popular instinct has not been at fault in this case, and 
the public, while neglecting previous works of this class, or studying 
them merely as documents, continues to rank Rembrandt's Anaioiny 
Lesson among those typical achievements which sum up and annihilate 
previous efforts. It will be no over-statement of its historical import- 
ance to say that it forms an epoch not only in Rembrandt's career 
but in the art of his country. For this work consecrated the Dutch 
ideal, as it were, and awoke in the Dutch school a consciousness of its 
own strength, exhorting it to persevere in its chosen course ; such art 
was in harmony with its tastes, its love of truth, its conscientious pre- 
cision, its hankering after perfect technique. But Rembrandt, at every 



I04 



REMBRANDT 



fresh essay in the treatment of contemporary themes, enlarged their 
horizons, and touched them with new hfe. The poetry with which he 
thus informed the national art had nothing in common with the 
traditions of his first masters, the Italianise^^s. Without recourse to 
trivial allegory or hackneyed symbol, he personified Science in the 
men of his own country and times, and expressed it by showing 
it engaged on the problems that form the basis of its studies. As one 
of the master's most fervent worshippers has truly said, he has chosen 
" to render life rather from the actual than the ideal side. He is a 
painter who paints, and paints well, because he sees well, and who 
can nevertheless feel and think deeply."^ But fully as we recognise 
the expedience of a revolution that rejected academic tradition to 
return to the exclusive study of Nature, we cannot follow Burger in his 
proclamation of the superiority of Dutch to Italian art. Comparisons 
of this kind, which must always be based to some extent on 
personal predilection, are absolutely futile. At the period of which 
we are treating, Italian art had produced its rich harvest of master- 
pieces, and had gradually declined. It was soon to die out, exhausted 
and effete, in the hands of unworthy successors of the great masters. 
As it was then, it was certainly ill suited to inspire the genius of a 
nation that had but lately achieved independence, and was eager to 
proclaim it in every manifestation of its activity. The art this nation 
had developed was, on the other hand, in its full vigour ; a native 
birth, it faithfully translated native life and manners. And, at this 
decisive moment, its aims were summed up by Rembrandt's Lesson in 
Anal my. 

1 Biirger, Mtisces de la Hollande, p. 196 et seq. 




Cl.D MAN WITH A SHORT iJliAKU. 

About 1631 (B. 300). 







PEM DRAWING HEIGHTENED WITH WASH. 

(Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 



CHAPTER VIII 

REMBRANDT'S GROWING SUCCESS AS A PORTRAIT-PAINTER — PORTRAITS PAINTED IN 

1632 AND 1633 'the SHIPBUILDER AND HIS WIFE' 'MARTIN DAEY AND HIS 

wife' — COMPOSITIONS OF THIS PERIOD: — ' ST. PETER'S BOAT IN THE STORM ' ; THE 
' PHILOSOPHERS ' — REMBRANDT'S RELATIONS WITH HUYGENS — THE SERIES OF PIC- 
TURES ON THE PASSION PAINTED FOR PRINCE FREDERICK HENRY. 




T 



HE success of the Anatoniy Lesson was 
brilliant. Rembrandt's name, already 
well known in Amsterdam, now became 
famous. His rank among the first living 
painters was assured, and commissions flowed 
in rapidly. As Dr. Bode has remarked,^ 
whereas in 163 1 he painted only two or three 
portraits besides the studies of himself and his 
family, in 1632 he had ten in hand, and from 
1632 to 1634 at least forty. His manner 
became broader, though he abated nothing 
of the sincerity and conscientious care that 
had made his reputation. He enlarged without 
substantially altering his style. The execution of his first large 
canvas had made him sensible of certain deficiencies in freedom and 
breadth of conception and vigour of drawing. 

Taking his works in chronological order, we find several young 
couples among the painter's clients. Occasionally the two portraits, 
though painted to form a pair, are separated from each other by some 
twelve months ; either Rembrandt's many commissions made it 
impossible to finish both in the same year, or his talent and success 
had brought his models into fashion. The earliest examples are in 

^ SfUiiioi, J). 399. 



FIGt'RE OF A roi.ANDIKS. 

About 1633 (B. 140). 



ice REMBRANDT 

I\I. Henry Pereire's collection, and belonged to the late Mr. Wynn 
Ellis. The male portrait is signed Rembrant, and dated 1632 ; the 
female is signed Rembrandt, and dated 1633. The husband wears a 
broad-brimmed black hat, a black dress, and a white collar, which 
enhances the freshness of his complexion. He is a man of middle age 
— forty-seven years old — with curled moustache and grizzled beard ; 
but his vigorous head and confident expression denote a virile and 
robust character. Deep shadows throw the face into strong relief; 
the modelling, however, is extremely delicate. The most exact care 
has been bestowed on every detail, and the scrupulous precision of 
execution is carried so far that each pleat of the gauffered ruff is in its 
right place, exactly in perspective, and catching exactly the right 
amount of light. Notwithstanding which minuteness, the general effect 
is bold and striking. In the portrait of the young woman, Cornelia 
Pronck — for both her name and age (thirty-three years) are known — the 
handling is somewhat less broad. Her long oval face is turned almost 
full to the spectator, and, in spite of her red lips, she has an ailing 
look. In accordance with the fashion of the day, her hair is concealed 
beneath her lace cap, and her white collar stands out from a black 
dress embroidered with gold. A mild light falls on the pleasant face. 
which bears in every feature the impress of virtue and sincerity. With 
the exception of a delicate shadow that subdues the white of the 
collar, the whole is clear, limpid, transparent, and luminous. The 
cool, slight half-tones with which the flesh is modelled have the 
greenish tinge peculiar to the period. It is repeated in the background, 
against which the charming head is set. The handling is neither 
brilliant nor even very characteristic. But for its superior delicacy, it 
might be the work of Thomas de Keyser, and it is by no means extra- 
ordinary that the authenticity of these two portraits was questioned in 
1876. Rembrandt's youthful works were so little known at that date 
that the Director of the English National Gallery, who, according to 
the terms of the Wynn Ellis bequest, was privileged to take his choice 
of the donor's collection, rejected them. 

The portraits of another couple, now in the Brunswick Museum, 
were painted, like the above, at the interval of a year one from the 
other; that of the husband in 1632, and its pendant in 1633. They 
formerly passed for Grotius and his wife, but this idea was plainly a 
mistaken one, as may be seen by comparing the Brunswick picture 
with any of the famous writer's known portraits. Like the preceding 
pair, these are of oval shape, and the sitters are dressed in black, with 
double white ruffs, each pleat of which is elaborately painted. Here 
again the portrait of the husband is the more lifelike and expressive of 
the two, though the earlier by a year. It is a striking face, full of 
vivacity and decision, with brilliant eyes, upturned moustaches, and 
hair brushed away from the temples towards the top of the head. 
The wife's expression, on the other hand, is dull and inert ; the eyes 
have no animation ; the lips are set in a peevish pout. This un- 
attractive head was apparently little to the painter's taste. 



PORTRAITS FROM 1632-1633 107 

Another couple, who deserved a better fate, have fared worse 
than these, and are now separated. Both portraits are signed, and 
dated 1633. The husbaivd, Willem Burchgraeff of Rotterdam, is in 
the Dresden Museum. His wife, Margaretha van Bilderbeecq. in 
the Stadel Institute at Frank- 
fort.^ Both are dressed in black. ^-^ /^ t 
The faces, which are turned f U /!« •-//■* rv ■ 
almost full to the spectator, have I /\ffflu f(l71Cl [ ' J {/C 
extraordinary vigour and vital- ^ 
ity. The rapid and confident ^ 0^^ ' 
execution shows that Rembrandt -^ -^ 
painted them in one of his rembrandt's siGNAXfRE. 
happiest moods ; the frankness 

of handlino- and colourinLj are admirablv suited to the robust character 
of the sitters. 

The two large portraits, the Burgomaster Pellicorne with his son 
Casper, and his wife, Suzanna van Collen, with her daughter, are 
probably of the same date. They are signed Rembrant, and the 
figures 163 are decipherable on the wife's portrait. Both are in 
the Wallace collection, having been bought by the late Lord 
Hertford at the King of Holland's sale. These canvases were 
unfortunately rolled up at one time ; they have suffered much in 
the process. In arrangement they are not especially happy ; Pelli- 
corne, dressed in black, and wearing a broad-brimmed hat, sits in 
an arm-chair, and offers a purse of money to his little son, a child 
of about eight years old, who stands beside him in a gray costume. 
His wife, who wears a black dress embroidered with gold and a 
wide white collar, is seated. She gives a piece of money to her 
daughter, a red-haired little damsel with small blinking eyes. 
The treatment is careful but somewhat dry, and the drawing of 
the hands is not irreproachable. The illumination is feeble, and 
little attention has been given to the chiaroscuro. The timid 
execution and greenish tone of the carnations seem to us strong 
evidences in favour of the date 1 631- 1632, which is further con- 
firmed by the signature {Rembrant, as in the Anatomy Lesson). 

The portrait of Jan-Hermansz Krul in the Cassel Museum is 
dated 1633. ^^ is painted three-quarters length, standing, one hand 
upon his hip, the other hanging by his side. A strong light falls 
on the rubicund face, which is rcHeved against a gray-toned architec- 
tural background. The personage thus simply posed was a poet 
of the school of Cats, and the author of some insipid pastorals imitated 
from the Astrcea. A year after the date of this portrait he founded 
the Chamber of Music, a sort of opera-house, at Amsterdam. His 
elegant dress makes it difficult to imagine that he began life as a 
locksmith. There are traces of his humble origin, however, in his 
bulky person and powerful hands, as in the tone of somewhat vulgar 

^ Some documents recently discovered by Dr. Bredius have enabled him to correct 
the spelling of these names. Burchgraeff was a baker and corn-dealer at Leyden. 



io8 



REMBRANDT 



gallantry that obtains in many of his pieces, notably the Theodore 
and Dejanira. Notwithstanding his robust appearance, Krul died in 
1644, aged barely forty-two. He was intimate with Rembrandt and 
his circle, for one of his works, the Pampiere Wereld (the Paper 
World), contains an etching by Bol, Death and the Courtier, formerly 
attributed to Rembrandt, in which the woman's face bears some 
likeness to Saskia. 

The year 1633 was such a prolific one that we must be content 
with a brief mention of the various small portraits of children, ex- 
amples of which are 
owned by Lady Wallace, 
the Rothschild family, 
and Prince Youssoupoff. 
The Prince's seems to 
me one of the best. It 
represents a bright-look- 
ing boy, with a round 
rosy face, wearing a fur- 
trimmed cap and a dark- 
red costume. Mr. James 
Simon of Berlin has one 
of these little portraits 
(17-ro X I4t\ inches), 
painted about 1633- 
1634, a full-length of a 
young woman, wearing 
a black head-dress, a 
black gown with violet 
sleeves, and a white 
collar and cuffs. She 
stands near a table 
covered with a crimson 
Smyrna rug beside a 




PORTRAIT OF A MAN. 

1632 (Brunswick Museumi 



gray chair, 
the chair, 



The rug, 
the Ho-ht 



upon the wall, and the 
charming expression of the young face justify the attribution of 
the little panel to Rembrandt, in spite of a suspicious clumsiness 
in the drawing of the hands and heaviness in the execution. A 
more important work on this small scale is the whole-length por- 
trait of a young couple in a room, about one third of life-size, 
signed, and dated 1633, in the Hope collection at Deepdene. The 
husband, a man of rather thick-set figure, stands beside his young 
wife, who is seated to the left. Both are evidently in high good 
humour, and neither their faces nor attitudes betray the discomfort 
of their posture. But it seems that the master, who had inclined to 
works of this size at the beginning of his career, now began to feel 
oppressed by their restricted dimensions. He required a larger field 



PORTRAITS OF THIS PERIOD 



109 



for the exercise of his newly acquired quaHties. He holds his own 
by virtue of his superior knowledge of chiaroscuro and deeper insight 
into character, but he has more than one rival. His small portraits 
have neither the incisive touch and dazzling bravura of those of Hals 
nor the firm and delicate modelling and exquisite refinement that 
mark such masterpieces of De Keyser's as the two family portraits 
in the Berlin Museum (1628), the portrait of the magistrates in the 
Maiiritshuis at the Hague (163 1), and the fine male portrait, formerly 
in the Secretan collec- 
tion, and lately acquired 
by M. Rodolphe Kann. 

In the male portrait of 
the Stockholm Museum 
(No. 585) Rembrandt re- 
turns to the scale in 
which his supremacy is 
undisputed. The picture 
bears neither date nor 
sipfnature, but we believe 
it to be a work of 1633. 
The sitter, who is dressed 
in black and wears a 
black skull-cap, holds a 
roll of papers in his 
hand. The refined and in- 
tellectual head is crowned 
by hair slightly streaked 
with gray. The work is 
said to represent Jan 
Uytenbogaerd, an ardent 
theologian, who took an 
active part in the pas- 
sionate religious con- 
troversies of the day. 
But we can trace no 
likeness between this and 

other portraits of the famous minister.^ Be this as it may, the 
painter's work has extraordinary vigour and brilliance. Following 
a practice often adopted by him at this period, he has opposed the 
most strongly illuminated side of the face to the darkest part of his 
background. 

Of a very different character to this austere conception is the 
Comte de Pourtales's fine portrait of a young man, formerly in the 
Farrer collection. The young patrician, who is painted lile-size and 
rather more than three-quarters length, has just risen from his seat. 
He rests one hand on the table beside him, and, holding out the other 
in the light, appears to be welcoming some visitor with much 
' /\e?nl'randfs eiched portrait of this theologian is dated 1635. — F. IV. 




PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN. 

1633 (Brunswick Museum). 



no REMBRANDT 

cordiality. His genial face is shadowed by a black hat ; he is 
richly dressed in a black doublet with bows of ribbon and silver 
shoulder-knots, relieved by a collar and cuffs of white lace. The 
charm of this beautiful work, one of the most remarkable of its 
period, lies in the broad yet careful handling, the frankness of the 
chiaroscuro, and, above all, in the debonair distinction of the sitter. 

But Rembrandt's great masterpiece of 1633 — a year so rich in 
important works — is the large canvas known as The Shipbuilder and 
his Wife, in the Royal collection at Buckingham Palace. The 
husband, an elderly man, with a white beard and moustache, and 
strongly marked but placid features, sits at a table, busily drawing 
the plan of a ship's hull. He holds a compass in his right hand, and 
turns for a moment from his task to his wife, an old woman in a white 
cap, who has just entered the room to hand him what is doubtless a 
letter.^ Both are very simply dressed, and all the details of their 
modest dwelling indicate an orderly life of mutual affection, honour- 
ably maintained by the labours of the old man and the good 
management of the help-meet who looks at him with so cordial a smile. 
Worthy pair ! We feel the depth of their attachment ; we see that, 
growing old together, they have shared each other's joys and sor- 
rows, and that age has but bound them more closely to each other. 
Rembrandt seems to have been touched by their tender affection, so 
sympathetic is his rendering of its moral beauty and serene pathos. 
The frank and generous execution, the soft warm light, the sober 
colour, the transparent shadows, are all in exquisite harmony with the 
homely scene, and attune the spectator's mind to fuller sympathy with 
the old couple. The idea of painting husband and wife, and even 
the several members of a family, on the same canvas, was not, of 
course, a novel one. Many of Rembrandt's predecessors, notably De 
Keyser, had produced admirable works on these lines. But here 
the young artist outstripped both predecessors and rivals. In- 
creasing the scale, he used each figure to complete the truth and 
individuality of the other. By bringing them thus together, he has 
given us not merely a picture, but an epitome of two lives, which, 
thanks to his art, are as closely associated in our memories as 
in reality. 

Two years had barely elapsed since Rembrandt's arrival at 
Amsterdam, yet, as we have seen, he had found patrons in every 
rank of society. Theologians, doctors, magistrates, poets, and 
merchants, plain burghers and young patricians, venerable matrons 
and fashionable ladies, persons of the most diverse temperament, age, 
and condition, had flocked to his studio, and all had been portrayed 
with equal sincerity. Great as was his pleasure in fantastic costumes, 
plumes, weapons, and foreign stuffs, he accepted the uncom- 
promising actuality of Dutch costume, its somewhat monotonous 

^ Dr. Bredius thinks that the superscription of this letter, " To the very honourable 
Jan Vij," gives the name of the shipbuilder. {Niederlatidsche Spectator, 1889, No. 17.) 
The plan on which he is engaged bears the signature Rembrandt, and the date 1633. 




^ 



REMBRANDT AS A PORTRAIT-PAINTER iii 

severity, its dark colours, its uniform make. But small as was the 
licence allowed by such raiment, there were differences in the 
manner of wearing it, from which the tastes and habits of a life 
might be inferred. It is in subtleties such as these that the true 
artist manifests himself; restrictions serv^e but to develop his 
infinity of resource and the variety of his combinations. As in the 
costume of his sitters, so in their gesture and attitude, Rembrandt 
observed the sobriety that befits the painter of an undemonstrative 
race. Simple, natural, and reticent, he yet contrives to pose his models 
in a manner appropriate to their occupations and temperaments, 
marking with unerring instinct the most characteristic features of 
their bearing, their faces, their personality at large, and insisting 
chiefly upon these. He was now a consummate master of every 
secret of his art — truth of perspective, correctness of drawing, vigour 
and delicacy of modelling, the expression of surfaces and textures 
by variations of touch, harmony of colour, and the intricacies of 
chiaroscuro. But though he recognised that nothing is unimportant 
in this difficult art, and that the great portrait-painter is he who wins 
the richest result from his boundless material, he also perceived, with 
the earlier masters, that the eyes and mouth are the supremely 
significant features of the human face, the features to which we look 
for the expression of life, of thought, and of the various emotions 
that stir the soul. Our other features change comparatively little 
with years, and are but slightly modified by our moral action, while 
these are fashioned in great measure by ourselves, and take on the 
impress of individual habit. In Rembrandt's personages the eye is 
the centre wherein life, in its infinity of aspect, is most fully mani- 
fested. His portraits are distinguished, not only by the absolute 
fidelity and precision of the likeness, but by a mysterious limpidity 
of gaze, which seems to reveal the soul of the sitter, inviting us 
to yet closer study and a yet deeper knowledge of its secrets. 
Hence it is that it is impossible to forget these portraits. At a 
distance we are conscious of their vitality. A second inspection 
has always some fresh revelation in store for us, for they never 
yield up the full measure of their beauties at first sight, and 
superb as they may have seemed in retrospect, they surpass our 
expectations each time we return to them. The master, with 
his unfailing love of nature and his marvellous powers of percep- 
tion, could not be indifferent to the humblest of his ^ fellow- 
creatures. In all he discovered a magic that kindled and inspired 
him, and throwing himself heart and soul into his beloved work, 
he informed the personality of his model with something of his 
own genius. 

The success of such an artist and his speedy popularity may be 
easily imagined. So great was the demand for his works, says 
Houbraken, that amateurs were content to wait their turn to be 
served, and, in the words of a proverb he quotes, would-be purchasers 
had "not only to pay, but to pray" for a picture. Persons of 



112 REMBRANDT 

distinction flocked to his studio, and among his sitters at this period 
we shall find members of the richest and most fashionable circles in 
Amsterdam. Such, for instance, is a young man in a broad-brimmed 
black hat, whose portrait, signed, and dated 1634, is now in the 
Hermitage. He has regular features, and his rather long face, 
surrounded by abundant chestnut hair, stands out in frank relief 
against a background of grayish green. A wide lace collar is 
turned over his black dress. The painting is discreet and sedate but 
full of energy, the warm shadows bringing out the cool carnations 
with admirable effect. The sitter has an air of great distinction, and 
his refined features proclaim him the son of some noble house. 
Vosmaer's statement that the portrait represents the Dutch admiral 
Philip van Dorp seems to us improbable. The youthful elegance 
of the model tells strongly against such an identification ; besides 
which, we can trace no likeness whatever between this picture 
and an engraving executed by Savery in 1634, from a portrait of 
Van Dorp by Rembrandt, in which the admiral is posed almost 
full-face, and wears a medallion hanging from a chain over his 
gorget. 

Among the works of this period there are further two bust 
portraits of oval shape at Bridgewater House, the first (dated 1634) 
of a girl of eighteen in a greenish dress w^ith rich ornaments; the 
second of another girl, fair and fresh-complexioned, painted nearly 
full-face, who wears a double lace collar and a gold chain over her 
black dress. -^ 

Both pictures have suffered somewhat from time, the shadows 
having lost their transparency, but they are marked by a youthful 
freshness and charm that must have delighted the aristocratic patrons 
with whom the master had found favour. Abating nothing of his 
sincerity, Rembrandt here manifests a sense of feminine grace and 
beauty which some had been disposed to deny him. This grace 
and beauty are even more vividly displayed in a work of greater 
importance, the life-size full-length of Machteld van Doom, painted 
as a pendant to the portrait of her husband, Marten Daey. Both 
were formerly in the possession of the Van Loon family of Amsterdam, 
and became the property of Baron Gustave de Rothschild in 1877. 
Only the portrait of the husband is signed, and dated 1634; but, in 
spite of Vosmaer, who supposes that of the wife to have been painted 
in 1643, some nine years later, we agree with the opinion already 
expressed by Dr. Bode that they belong to the same period, an opinion 
fully justified by the respective ages of the pair and the character of 
the execution. Marten Daey, whose grandfather was apparently of 
English origin, is a well-known personage in Dutch history, whose ad- 
venturous career was the subject of a study by Madame Bosboom 
Toussaint some little time back.- Attached to the person of Count Louis 
of Nassau, he accompanied him to the Brazils, where he served in the 

^ This portrait is not dated, and may, as Dr. Bode believes, be later by a year or two 
than the first. " De Gids, September, 1867. 



!/ 



'mmmmj 





REMBRANDT AS A PORTRAIT-PAINTER 113 

twofold capacity of officer and administrator. Rembrandt's portrait 
represents him as a young dandy of the highest fashion. His elegant 




'oi; 1 KAir OK J.-H. KM I„ 
1633 (Cassel Museum). 



dress by no means conforms to the prevailing severity, and is even 
somewhat extravagant in taste. But the costume, which, we may be 
sure, was ' built * by some famous tailor, is worn with a gallantry and ease 

I 



114 REMBRANDT 

of bearing that preserve it from absurdity. The young man, a smile 
on his round, ruddy face, advances towards the spectator in an attitude 
akin to that of the Pourtales portrait, apparently welcoming a 
visitor. It was Rembrandt's delight to seize such momentary 
aspects of life, but he was ever careful to choose such as were 
appropriate to the condition and personality of his models. In the 
young wife's portrait he has attempted more ; her dignified pose 
and tlie chastened elegance of her costume bear out the consummate 
distinction of her whole personality. Like her husband, she stands 
almost facing the spectator. She wears a black dress with a white 
rosette in the bodice, and holds in her right hand a fan, fastened to a 
gold chain ; with the other hand she lifts her ample skirt, revealing 
a dainty foot in a tiny white satin slipper. What grace in the figure, 
what serenity in the gaze, what sweet dignity in the bearing! The 
masterly yet unobtrusive handling, broad, but full of gradation, 
contributes largely to the general effect; and the slight droop of the 
head, the illumination of its transparent shadows by reflections from 
the white collar, and the exquisite modelling of the aristocratic hands, 
complete the charm of a portrait that may bear comparison with the 
noblest and most refined works of Van Dyck. 

Two other life-size full-lengths, no less remarkable than the 
above, though of a very different character, are signed, and dated 
1634. These are the companion pictures of Hans Alenson and 
his wife, owned by the Schneider family.^ In this case the male 
portrait bears away the palm. The wife's, however, is not unworthy 
of Rembrandt. The minister's help-meet, dressed in a black gown 
of voluminous folds, is seated in a very simple attitude, almost facing 
the spectator. She is a woman of middle age, but her placid face 
and fresh complexion denote health and vigour. The features of 
this buxom dame have, however, little character, and though the 
master ably suggests the flaccid gentleness of her temperament, her 
somewhat colourless individuality pales to insignificance in the formid- 
able neighbourhood of her husband's portrait. The latter is a 
masterpiece. We see at a glance that the painter had found a 
model completely to his taste. Like his wife, the minister is seated, 
in a rather heavy arm-chair, with a back of red leather studded 
with gilt nails. Some books are open before him on a table covered 
with a greenish cloth, and he seems to have paused in his reading 
of one, probably a Bible. Alenson's dress is a black robe with wide 
hanging sleeves, a white gauffered ruff, and a small black skull-cap. 
His powerful head stands out sharply from the background, and the 
eyes, which look straight at the spectator, are full of fire, intelligence, and 
authority. His whole personality bears the stamp not only of bodily 

1 Vosmaer, who calls him Ellison, says he was a minister of the Anglican church at 
Amsterdam. The portrait was sold by this name and title in i860 at the S. Colby sale 
in London. But Mr. Moes informs us in his Iconographia Batava that there was no 
Anglican minister of the name of Ellison at Amsterdam in 1634. He discovered, 
however, that there was a Mennonite minister called Alenson living at Haarlem. 



Xv 



11! ! 

- u 




Man PrcpariuQ; for Bed. 

I'cn iind Scpiii. 

(STOCKHOLM PRINT ROOM.) 



PORTRAIT OF AN OLD LADY 115 

health but of extraordinary moral energy. His small and somewhat 
wrinkled left hand is laid upon his breast with a gesture that seems 
to attest the strength and sincerity of his convictions. Rembrandt 
alone could endue a portrait with such depth and intensity of 
expression; but even he had never before achieved such mastery 
and such eloquence. The picture, though absolutely faithful to nature, 
passes out of the domain of mere portraiture. It is a historical docu- 
ment, a living, irrefragable witness, so to speak, to the nature of those 
zealous and impassioned religious personalities that figure so pro- 
minently in Dutch history of the period, and whose influence was 
so pronounced in the intellectual and political life of Holland. Save 
that similar vagaries are common in the records of auctions, it 
would be difficult to explain the strange reception of these portraits 
by the public in 1876, when they were offered for sale on the 
death of Mr. Schneider. Not only did the bidding fall short of the 
reserve of ^4,400, but certain amateurs, whose knowledge of 
Rembrandt's manner at this period must have been rudimentary 
indeed, cast doubts on their authenticity, ignoring all those internal 
evidences that should have placed their genuineness above suspicion. 
Here again we rejoice to find ourselves in perfect agreement with 
Dr. Bode, who fully appreciates the beauty and the excellent condition 
of the two portraits. 

A work of less importance, though not less precious, and perhaps 
even better preserved, is the portrait of an old woman in the National 
Gallery, signed, and dated 1634. The painter, with a touch of 
coquetry pardonable enough in view of the age and appearance of his 
model, has preceded his signature by the inscription: '' JE. Suae St," 
The careful dress of the old lady adheres strictly to the fashion of 
her day. Her black gown, with its stiffened epaulettes, is very 
simple in make, and without ornament of any sort. She wears the 
usual little white cap with detached side pieces over her gray hair. Her 
face is deeply scarred by time; the wrinkled flesh is drawn tightly 
over the temples, and hangs loose and shapeless on the cheeks. But 
the head is a venerable one, nevertheless. The generous blood 
still pulses under that faded skin ; the mouth is tender and 
benevolent, the eyes still gleam with kindly intelligence under 
their puckered lids. Though her interest in the outside world 
has grown faint, the moral life is still vigorous in this octogenarian, 
and it is easy to understand how attractive the study of such 
a personality must have been to the master. His happy in- 
sight has enabled him to show us, side by side with the bodily 
accidents of age, the elevation of a soul purified by the sorrows 
of a long life, and gradually detaching itself from the world to 
find its solace within. As in the portrait of Alenson, the expres- 
sion of the inner life is the keynote of the composition, but 
here the freedom and iiulividuality of treatment are of a totally 
different order. The harmony of the colour is only to be equalled 
by its boldness ; on close inspection of the luminous flesh-tints 

1 2 



ii6 



REMBRANDT 



we are amazed at the audacity of the tones, the touches of pure 
vermilion on Hps and cheeks, the daring brilliance of high lights 
applied with unerring assurance, the resonance of colours juxta- 
posed without fusion, yet melting into harmony, and, when viewed 
at a distance, vibrating in unison. On his scrupulous study 
of reality in its minutest details, Rembrandt brought to bear 
the knowledge and inspiration of a consummate craftsman, yet 
he never allowed himself to be carried away by his technical facility. 
Always master of himself, he subordinates all the resources of his art 
to the achievement of his proposed end. Though he had now 
risen to the highest rank among portrait-painters, he had no inten- 
tion of taking upon himself the bondage such a situation usually 
implies. He could content himself with nothing short of perfec- 
tion, and strove unceasingly to satisfy his own aspirations. Among 
his models of every condition in life, his interest was mainly concen- 
trated on those whose marked individuality promised to reward his 
penetration. He did not ply a trade after the manner of many 
fashionable painters, but gave himself unreservedly to his art, with 
passionate ardour and ever-increasing loftiness of aim. Numerous 
as were his portraits, they did not entirely absorb the young master. 
He neglected no opportunity of improvement. Thus about 1634 we 
find him painting the study of a young negro's head, known as the 
Black Aj'cher, now in the Wallace collection. The model wears a 
greenish blue costume trimmed with fur, and holds a bow in his hand. 
The artist in his zeal perhaps prolonged the sitting unduly, for the 
little blackamoor has a bored and sulky expression, no doubt faithfully 
copied from the original. 

In addition to studies such as these, Rembrandt devoted a certain 
portion of his time to the satisfaction of his teeming imagination. 
No very important compositions date from this period. His days 
were too fully occupied to allow of serious undertakings demanding 
study and preparation. But among his productions other than 
portraits there are several that claim our attention. We may instance 
the picture dated 1633, and known as St. Peter s Boat, which was 
famous even in the days of Houbraken, who praises its truth of 
expression and careful finish. At the time he wrote it belonged to a 
well-known contemporary amateur, the Burgomaster Jan Hinloopen. 
It is now in England, in the possession of Lord Francis Pelham- 
Clinton. The episode of Christ sleeping in the storm was one likely 
to appeal strongly to the painter's imagination, and his rendering is 
both picturesque and pathetic. The murky sky is partially lighted by 
a sinister glow, and the waves dash violently against the frail ship, 
which seems about to sink under the foaming waters. The disciples 
strain desperately at the ropes and sails, while others turn to rouse the 
Master, whose peaceful sleep is in strange contrast with their terror. 
Setting aside a vulgar detail very characteristic of Dutch taste at the 
period — a passenger leaning his head over the bulwarks, whose dis- 
comfort is somewhat too realistically suggested — the scene is im- 




S///(!v for the 



Philosopher'^ in the Louvre {i(\^3)- 

Red Clinlk. 

(rr-RliN I 



i 



"PHILOSOPHERS ABSORBED IN MEDITATION" 



117 



pressively and eloquently rendered by one who, from his native shores, 
had often watched the fierce onslaught of waters let loose by 
the tempest. 

The undated David playino- the Harp before Saul in the Stadel 
Institute at Frankfort is probably a work of 1633, though it may be 
earlier by a year or two. The king stands in the centre grasping a 
spear, and listening, with a wild expression on his face, to the harmonies 
of the young musician, who is placed a little on one side. The vulgar 
features of the king, the faulty drawing of his hand, and a certain 
heaviness in the execu- 
tion have raised doubts 
as to the authenticity of 
this work, which the 
Catalogue ascribes to S. 
Koninck. But the quality 
of the light, the expres- 
sion on Saul's face, the 
fine harmony of his red 
mantle and the cool grays 
that prevail throughout 
the picture, and finally 
the handling itself, which 
closely resembles that of 
other early works, all 
sanction Dr. Bode's res- 
titution of this example 
to the master. Rem- 
brandt treated the theme 
again in later years on a 
more important scale. 

No question can pos- 
sibly be raised as to 
the two small panels of 
this date in the Louvre, 
the pair of Pliilosophen, 
absorbed in Mcditalion. 
The more remarkable 
of the two, No. 40S in 

the Catalogue, suffers to some extent from an excrescence it could 
have dispensed with : a woman in the foreground to the right, who is 
stirring the embers in a wide fireplace, evidently a pretext for the 
rendering of natural and artificial light in juxtaposition, and their com- 
bined reflections. The episode, however, is by no means obtrusive, and 
scarcely distracts our attention from the real subject, the meditative 
old man to whom the title refers. lie has paused in his reading, and 
sits in a contemplative attitude, with folded hands, by a window. 
The waning daylight still illumines his humble retreat. In this 
peaceful atmosphere he reviews his past life, and, lost in thought, 




PORTRAIT OF AN OLD LADY. 

1634 (National Gallery). 



Ti8 REMBRANDT 

with a fixed gaze that takes no heed of outward things, he looks 
within. The venerable face of the old man, the subdued tints 
of his draperies, the softness of the fading light, the delicate trans- 
parency of the deepening shadows, the choice of details, and 
the exquisite art of their treatment, all combine to charm the 
spectator by their indefinable poetry. Many other painters before 
and after Rembrandt attempted similar effects. In the Louvre 
itself, close to the Philosopher, hangs a Rtistic Interior by Adriaen 
van Ostade, dated 1642, which seems to have been inspired 
by the master, and reproduces a similar impression. At a later 
period, De Hooch perhaps owed something to Rembrandt, when 
he brought all the perfection of his art to the rendering of 
those admirable Interiors, in which the complex play of light and 
shadow, exactness of values, and the infinite diversity of reflections, 
are even more subtly observed than in the works of his great 
prototype. But the problems with which these artists were con- 
cerned were purely picturesque, and we shall look in vain to them 
for any of that expressive significance and intimate union between 
subject and treatment so characteristic of Rembrandt. In his art 
humanity was always the essential element, and he made the 
infinite modifications of light subservient to the revelation of its 
moral life or dominant emotions. Such is especially the case in 
this instance. The importance he attached to the central figure 
of the philosopher is attested by many preliminary studies. The 
type is, in fact, that of the old man we have spoken of as the 
model for many of the earlier pictures and etchings, and for the 
graceful drawings in red chalk in the Berlin Museum, the Louvre, 
and the Hermitage. Rembrandt further made a special study 
from this model in black chalk and wash the year he painted 
this Philosopher. It is now in the Stadel Institute at Frankfort. 
The second Philosopher (No. 409 in the Catalogue) differs but 
slightly from the first, save that the composition is reversed and 
that it is inferior in quality. The features lack the distinction of 
the first example, and the distribution of the light, though skilful, 
is less poetic. 

Another picture of this period, the Christ with the Disciples 
at Evimdiis, formerly in the Leroy d'^tiolles collection, and lately 
acquired by M. ifedouard Andre, bears the same monogram as 
one of the Philosophers, but is, in our opinion, a rather earlier 
work. In this first conception of a subject that Rembrandt 
treated more than once, chiaroscuro again plays an important 
part. The originality of arrangement borders on eccentricity. But 
the treatment is thoroughly characteristic even in this early essay, 
and shows how strong a hold the episode had already taken on 
the painter's imagination. 

At this juncture, when Rembrandt's growing fame was bringing 
him ever more and more prominently into public notice, his successes 
were crowned by a series of important purchases and commissions 



I 




s. 



i 



COMMISSIONS FOR PRINCE FREDERICK HENRY 119 

made on behalf of the Prince who, under the title of Stathouder, then 
governed Holland, and whose name will be lastingly associated with 
her supreme period of prosperity. Frederick Henry, son of William 
the Silent, found, on succeeding his brother Maurice, that his country 
was at last free from the most crushing of those difficulties with which 
his predecessor had to contend. In the calmer days in which his own 
lot was cast it was possible to devote his leisure to the arts, and to 
busy himself in the decoration of the palaces he had inherited, or 
had caused to be built, at Buren, Ryswyk, and Honsholredyk. In 
common with all the patricians of his day, his tastes inclined rather to 
the art of the Flemings — Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens, and Gonzalez 
Coques — than to that of his own countrymen. But he could not 
entirely neglect the latter, and the brilliant achievements of contem- 
porary Dutchmen combined with considerations of public expediency 
to demand the encouragement of national art. Mierevelt, Ravesteyn, 
and Honthorst, the accredited portrait-painters of the House of 
Orange, divided his patronage with the Italianisers, notably Moses 
Uytenbroeck, Pietcr de Grebber, and Dirck Bleker. The prince was a 
liberal paymaster, for we find him giving the then considerable sum 
of 1,700 florins for a Ventcs by the mediocre Bleker. Constantine 
Huygens, his secretary, acted as intermediary in his transactions with 
artists, and we have seen how high was the opinion entertained by 
Huygens of Rembrandt, who had long been intimate with him and his 
family. It will be remembered that Rembrandt painted the small 
portrait of his brother Maurice in 1632, and that of his brother-in-law, 
Admiral Philip van Dorp, in 1633, for though the portrait in the 
Hermitage which is supposed to represent the latter differs both 
in feature and costume from S. Savery's engraving, this engraving 
was certainly after a portrait by Rembrandt, as is stated in the in- 
scription. It was probably in consequence of his acquaintance with 
Huygens that the young master was recommended to the Prince's 
favour. Several letters exchanged between Rembrandt and Huygens 
give some interesting information in connection with a series of com- 
positions bought at various intervals by the StatJioudcj'. In 1781 these 
works passed from his collection to that of the Elector Palatine, and 
subsequently from the Dusseldorf Gallery to the Munich Pinacothek, 
where they are now preserved. 

In 1633 Rembrandt had two of the finished works in his studio, 
the Elevation of the Cross and the Descent from tJie Cross. The 
opening letter of the correspondence doubtless refers to these. ^ One 
of them had taken the Statlwtider s fancy, and he had announced his 
intention of buying it. The artist invites Hii)-gens to come and see 
whether the pendant, which is also for sale, might not suit the Prince. 
He values it at 200 livres, but with perfect confidence in the judgment 
of " his Excellency, he will be content with what he offers." He adds 
in a postscript that '' the effect of the picture will be much enhanced 

^ The original, of which Vosmacr gives both a copy and a translation (p. 1S7), is in 
the British Museum. 



REMBRANDT 



by hanging it in a strong light." Like all the other works of the 
series, the Elevation of the Cross is an upright picture rounded at 
the top. As in Rubens's great triptych in Antwerp Cathedral, the 
cross, held obliquely aloft, divides the gloomy sky, against which 

the livid l3ody of the 
Saviour is relieved, into 
two equal portions. The 
features bear the marks 
of unspeakable suffering ; 
the eyes are raised as if 
in supplication to the 
Father. A soldier in 
helmet and armour, and 
four persons who sup- 
port the cross below, are 
endeavouring to raise it. 
At a little distance a 
captain in an oriental 
dress and high turban 
superintends the execu- 
tion mounted on a white 
horse, only a portion of 
which is seen. To the 
left guards are bringing 
forward the two thieves. 
A man in a blue cap, 
whose features bear some 
likeness to those of the 
painter himself, clasps the 
lower part of the cross, 
and looks pityingly at the 
pierced and bleeding feet 
of the Divine Sufferer. 
Surrounding the central 
group is a confused crowd 
of soldiers, women, priests, 
and curious bystanders. 
The subject is clearly ex- 
pressed in its more salient 
features, and the strongly 
illuminated figure of Christ is in striking contrast with the mysterious 
gloom of the background. 

In the Descent from the Cross, the central group of which we 
reproduce, the body of Christ has just been detached ; His head, 
convulsed with agony, falls upon His shoulder. A man, leaning over 
one of the arms of the cross, holds up the winding-sheet on which four 
persons standing below support the body. The precious burden, droop- 
ing, mangled and inert, is received with tender respect. On the ground 




FRAGMENT FROM THE DESCENT FROM THE CROSS. 

1633 (Munich Pinacothek). 



SERIES OF PICTURES ON THE PASSION 121 

below the disciples and the holy women arrange the draperies for His 
burial, or press forward to aid the Virgin, who falls fainting into 
the arms of the Magdalene. A man with a gray beard, in a turban, 





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DESCENT FKOM THli CKOSS. 
1633 (U 81). 



looks on callously at the pathetic scene, his indifference emphasisino- 
the emotion of those around him. Though the picture is carefuliv 
executed and elaborately finished, we detect various hesitations and 
corrections, A very evident pciiiamcuto shows that the two upper 



122 REMBRANDT 

fio-ures on either side of the Christ were originally rather higher up. 
The condition of this work, as of the others of the series in the 
Pinacothek, is very unsatisfactory. It is covered with cracks and 
repaints, and the shadows have become so opaque that it is almost 
impossible to distinguish the details of background and foreground. 
The master's numerous variations on this, the most remarkable 
picture of the series, show that he himself had a strong predilection 
for it. The first in order are two etchings, evidently of later date 
than the picture, for the proofs are reversed. One was left unfinished 
by Rembrandt, the other was executed under his direction. We 
shall have more to say of these later on. The following year 
(1634) he painted a replica, at one time in the Cassel Gallery, 
whence it passed to the Malmaison collection, and eventually 
to the Hermitage (No. 800 in the Catalogue). In this instance 
the master seems to have felt that his increased breadth of manner 
called for larger dimensions.^ The excellent condition of the work 
allows the student to observe the gradations of light more exacdy 
than is possible in the earlier example. Its full brilliance is focused 
on the body and the white winding sheet, and falling less vividly 
on the figures that surround the cross, it gradually melts away into 
shadow relieved only by livid reflections, among the persons of the 
background. Thanks to the learned economy of these modulations, 
simplicity and unity are preserved in the general effect, in spite of 
the multiplicity of episodes and contrasts. 

The Prince's purchases were not confined to these two pictures. 
He was doubtless pleased with his acquisition, for a letter written 
by Rembrandt in February, 1636," informs us that Frederick Henry 
had commissioned the painter to produce three other works, an Entomb- 
ment, ^iResiLvrection, and ^n Asceusioii, " uniform with the Elevation of 
the Cross and the Descent from the Cross " already received by the 
StatJionder. The artist tells Huygens that " one of the three pictures, 
the Christ ascending into Heaven, is finished, and the others are 
more than half done." He could either send the finished work or 
keep it till he had completed all three ; in this matter he would 
follow such instructions as he should receive. It seems probable 
that the Ascension was straightway delivered, and that the two 
remaining canvases were not handed over to the Prince till three 
years later. The dimensions of the Ascension (36:!: x 26f inches) 
are almost the same as those of the preceding pictures, but it has 
darkened even more than these, and is indeed the worst preserved, 
as well as the least interestino- of the series. Here and there we 
note a face full of expression, such as that of the old man with 
the gray beard among the disciples, clasping his hands in an ecstasy 

^ The Pinacothek Descent from the Cross measures 35-iV ^y 25! inches ; that in the 
Hermitage, 62;^ by 46^ inches. 

- This date was added long ago by a different hand, but it seems a very probable one, 
in view of the letter itself, which, after having been for some time in the Verstolk. van 
Soelen collection, was purchased in England in 187 1. 



"THE ENTOMBMENT" 123 



of love and adoration. But the little angels scattered about the 
sky are singularly ungraceful, and the strange attitude and fantastic 
draperies of Christ Himself are entirely opposed to the sentiment of 
such a scene. 

The last two pictures of the series, the Entombment and the 
Resurrection, were not completed till 1639. On the 12th of January 
in that year Rembrandt writes again to Huygens, informing him that 
he " has carried them out with great care and diligence . . . that he 
has endeavoured to make these the most vigorous and natural of the 
series, which is the main reason why he has had them so long in 
hand." He asks whether he shall despatch them, and, in recognition 
of the secretary's good offices in the transaction, reiterates the proposal 
of the former letter, that he should accompany them by a canvas some 
ten feet by eight, which he begs Huygens to accept for his own house. 
The latter seems, however, to have hesitated, but Rembrandt returns 
to the charge a few days later (January 27, 1639) in another letter, in 
which he asks for instructions as to the consignment of the pictures, 
and begs that payment may be made " as promptly as possible." He 
trusts "that Huygens will not disdain this, the first souvenir he has 
offered him," seeing what a pleasure it will be to the artist thus to 
acknowledge his indebtedness to the secretary. He further requests in 
a postscript, as on a former occasion, that the picture may be hung " in 
a strong light, so that it may be looked at from a distance, for thus 
it will be seen to the best advantage." The order for the transmission 
of the pictures having duly arrived, Rembrandt sent them off, with 
a few lines stating the price he expected to receive for them. He 
supposes that he will not be offered "less than lopo florins for each ; 
however, should his Highness think this more than they are worth, 
he must give what he thinks right. He (Rembrandt), for his part, 
relies on the judgment and discretion of his Highness, and will grate- 
fully receive the sum allotted to him." 

Although later by three years than the Ascetision, the Entombment 
and the Resurrection — the latter is dated 1639 — might easily be 
assigned to the same year. This may be explained in a great 
measure by the fact that all three were begun before 1633, and that 
Rembrandt, when finishing the last two, evidently tried to make both 
style and execution conform to his first inception. But we shall see 
that in the interval he had modified his manner very considerably. 
His increased breadth and simplicity now enabled him to express 
himself more vigorously and clearly. 

The conception of the Entombment lacks neither grandeur nor 
eloquence. The cave, its entrance hung with creepers; the distant 
view of Calvary, with the sinister outlines of the three crosses 
against the horizon ; the turbulent crowd, the fitful gleams of light, 
the heavy shadows round the pallid corpse — all these are details 
worthy of the master, and attest the wealth of an imagination that 
discovered aspects undreamt of by his predecessors in the most 
hackneyed themes. We must not, however, overlook defects so 



,24 REMBRANDT 

obvious as the meagre and puny figure of the Christ, the repulsive 
ughness of several among the bystanders, the multiplicity of episodes, 
and the complexity arising from the use of such various sources of light 
as the golden reflections of the setting sun on the horizon, the flaming 
torch which Nicodemus shades with his hand, and the lantern to the 
right of the picture. In spite of such blemishes, the work seems to have 
been highly appreciated in its day, for three copies, made probably 
in Rembrandt's studio, are extant, one in the Brunswick Museum, and 
two in the Dresden Museum. One of the two at Dresden (No. 1566 
in the Catalogue) appears to have remained in his studio, for the 
master worked upon it himself in certain places, and finally added his 
own signature, and the date 1653. The execution of the work he thus 
consented to father is very unequal. Certain portions, such as the 
group of holy women to the right, and the men who are bearing the 
body, are elaborately finished, while the figures in shadow at the 
mouth of the cave are touched in with a heavy and inexperienced hand. 
The figure of Christ is merely indicated, the black outlines of breast, 
legs, and arms being plainly visible through the paint. The heavy 
impasto of the winding-sheet is also hastily laid on with a broad 
brush. Rembrandt afterwards remodelled the composition in two 
etchings (one executed about 1645, the other in 1654), and in a pen 
drawing, formerly in the Crozat collection, and now in the Stockholm 
Museum. The arrangement is much simpler here, but the sketch has 
the same upright form as the earlier work, and Rembrandt, no doubt, 
intended to paint it in this shape, for the proposed dimensions of his 
picture are in his handwriting on the margin. 

The complexity, ugliness, and faults of taste that mar the Entomb- 
ment are still more glaring in the Resurrection. It would be difficult 
to conceive of a figure more uncompromisingly vulgar than that of 
the angel who has rolled away the stone from the sepulchre ; and the 
frightened soldiers, tumbling confusedly one over another, are grotesque 
in the extreme. And yet, while admitting such defects, we recognise 
Rembrandt's brilliant creative genius in the figure of the Saviour, 
which dominates the whole scene, in spite of the complexity of its 
lines, and its violently contrasted effects. This central figure, raising 
itself slowly by one hand laid on the edge of the tomb, is little short 
of a miracle of invention. For those who have once seen it, it is 
impossible to forget that wan face, hardly living as yet, in which 
life seems to be slowly dawning as they gaze — the hollow eyes 
struggling to see — the uncertain gestures of the helpless limbs. 
It is one of those indefinable conceptions which seem to lie 
almost beyond the resources of painting — one which only the frank 
audacity of genius could attempt, or bring to a happy and powerful 



^ The condition of this picture is no better than that of the others of the series, in 
spite of the somewhat pretentious inscription placed on the back by the Elector's court- 
painter, who restored it in the eighteenth century : Rembrandt creavit me ; P. IF. Brinck- 
mann reisuscitavit. 



•'THE RESURRECTION" 



125 



The Resurrection is the last of this series, which, in spite of the 
intervals dividing the works, we have taken consecutively, by reason 
of their analogies of arrangement and execution, and also because 
they deal continuously with the various episodes of the Passion. 
Interesting as they are, they cannot be ranked among Rembrandt's 
masterpieces. Pi is anxiety to please the Prince, and to justify the 
honour done to himself, led him perhaps to multiply figures and 
contrasts in works the scale of which unfitted them for such complexity 




POUTKAIT OF REMCKANUT. 
1633 (B. I7> 



of treatment. It is evident that the master was no longer at his ease 
in the dimensions he had formerly affected. He seems further to have 
been haunted by memories of the Italians who had treated these 
lofty themes before him ; but in their passage through his Dutch 
imagination these involuntary reminiscences lost much of the grandeur 
and beauty that charm us in the masters of the Renaissance. By 
forcing his talent to a certain extent, he abated something of his power. 
He amazes us by the originality of his combinations, but he no longer 
moves us as in familiar scenes better suited to his temperament. The 
absence of his characteristic merits emphasises his defects, his 
eccentricities and vulgarities, his tendency to crowd his compositions 



126 



REMBRANDT 



with a bewildering mass of details. Yet his sincerity is unquestionable, 
and, as he says in the letter already quoted, he believed he had put 
into these works "as much of life and reality as possible." But such 
qualities, which were indeed peculiarly his own, are less apparent here 
than in many earlier works. The time was to come when he would 
attain to them more absolutely, with infmitely less of eftbrt, preserv- 
ing all his " reality," with an increasing mastery of the resources 
of a subject, and a fuller power of expressing its picturesque and its 
emotional aspects. 



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REMBRANDT S MOTHER. 

1633 (B. 351). 




; \ 






'iJ#^i 



j,' - '»'^ct^ I 



■'a 

-^.»/., 



PEN DRAWING, HEIGHTENED WITH SEPIA. 

(Heseltine Collection.) 



CHAPTER IX 



SASKIA VAN UYLEXEORCH AND HER FAMILY — REMBRANDT S PORTRAITS OF HER 

THE 'JEWISH bride' — REMBRANDT MARRIES SASKIA (jUNE 22, 1634) — STUDIES 
AND PICTURES PAINTED FROM HER : THE ' ARTEMISIA ' IN THE PRADO, THE 
'BURGOMASTER PANCRAS AND HIS WIFE,' THE 'REMBRANDT AND SASKIA ' IN THE 
DRESDEN GALLERY — HIS INDUSTRY. 




W 



E have seen how laborious were Rem- 
brandt's first years at Amsterdam, 
But our long list of the works 
painted at this period is far from complete. 
To it we must add a number of drawings, and 
many etchings, executed either by himself or 
under his supervision. As, however, any dis- 
cussion of the latter involves vexed questions as 
to collaborators, we will consider them in our next 
chapter, when dealing with the first pupils whom 
the master's fame attracted to his studio. Inde- 
fatigable as was Rembrandt, and jealously as he 
guarded the time he desired to consecrate wholly to 
his art, we cannot but marvel that such an extraordinary mass of work 
should have been accomplished by one man. A whole series of 
portraits painted at this period remains to be noticed : those which 
the young artist, faithful to a habit he retained throughout his life, 
painted either from himself, or from his intimates. They form 
an important section of his cvnvrc, and, apart from their intrinsic 
merits, are interesting as throwing considerable light upon his career 
at this date. 

Among the portraits of 1632 is one in the Haro collection, dated, 
and signed with the monogram -of the period, followed by the words: 



REMDRANDT WITH 
.MOUSTACHIOS. 

About 1634 (B. 2). 



128 



REMBRANDT 



"Van Ryn." It is an oval, on canvas, and represents a young girl, 
her face in profile, and turned to the left. The forehead is some- 
what prominent, the nose straight and small, but thickening slightly 
towards the end, the mouth very dainty, the face rather full, with 
a hint of an approaching double chin, the small eyes rather 
heavily lidded. These irregular and by no means remarkable 
features are glorified by a brilliant complexion, and fair hair 
waving over the forehead in charming disorder. The costume 
is remarkable for its elegant simplicity, and the execution, agreeing 
with the attitude and expression, is irreproachably correct and 

demure. This young girl. 
_ ^ whose features we shall 
5^fei^ recognize in many works 
painted during the nine 
years of life that remained 
to her, was Saskia van 
Uylenborch, who was shortly 
to become Rembrandt's 
bride. 

A native of Friesland, 
she had lost her mother in 
1619^; her father, the scion 
of a wealthy patrician family 
of the province, had served 
in the magistracy of Leeu- 
warden either as dchevin or 
burgomaster from 1584 to 
1597. He was a distin- 
guished jurisconsult, and so 
well reported of among his 
fellow-citizens that several 
political missions had been 
entrusted to him. One of 
these took hini to Delft 
in 1584, to communicate 
with William of Orange, 
and when a guest at the 
Prince's table he was almost a witness of his assassination, of 
which he wrote an account to his employers. Rombertus died 
himself not long after his wife, in 1624. By this time most of 
his nine children were settled in life. Two of his sons followed 
their father's profession; the third was a soldier. His daughters, 
with the exception of Saskia, were all married : Antje, to one J. 
Maccovius, a professor of theology at Franeker, and an ardent 
Calvinist ; Hiskia, to Gerrit van Loo, secretary of the commune of 

^ For the details relating to Saskia's family we are indebted to Mr. W. Eckhoff, an 
archivist of Leeuwarden, who published them in a pamphlet called La Femme de 
Rembra vdt. 1862. 




PORTRAIT OF SASKIA. 

1632 (M. Haro). 




riic Jcwisli Jhidc {ahoiil i6j2). 

(l IKCKTENSTEIN GALLERY.) 



THE SASKIA FAMILY 



129 



the Bildt, who Hved in Saint Anna-Parocchie, one of the parishes 
of this bailiwick, towards the southern extremity of Friesland ; Titia, 
to the commissary Frans Copal ; Jeltje, to a compatriot named Doede 
van Ockema; while the fifth, Hendrickje, wedded, on August 19, 
1622, Wybrandt de Geest, the artist. De Geest was a historical 
painter and clever portraitist, born at Leeuwarden in 1596. From 
161 1 to 1630 he had travelled, for a time in France, but mainly 
in Italy, where his talents were so highly appreciated that he 
received the nickname of the Eagle of Friesland. After a short 
sojourn in Antwerp he settled in his native city, where he died in 
1659. The Ryksmuseum 
owns a considerable num- 
ber of portraits by him 
of the Counts of Nassau, 
Stathoiiders of Friesland, 
or princes of their family, 
and, thanks to the gene- 
rosity of Dr. Bredius, the 
collection has lately been 
enriched by a fine portrait 
of a lady, full-length and 
life-size. These works, 
which testify to the es- 
teem in which he was 
held, are somewhat in the 
manner of Moreelse and 
Mierevelt ; but his master- 
piece, a family portrait in 
the Stuttgart Museum, 
painted in 162 1, shortly 
after his return to Leeu- 
warden, shows greater ori- 
ginality, both of observa- 
ion and execution. 

Saskia, who was left 
an orphan at the age 
of twelve, had lived with 

several of her sisters in turn, and also with a cousin, wife of 
the minister Jan Cornells Sylvius, who had worked for a time in 
Friesland, before his "call" to Amsterdam, in 1610. Another 
cousin of Saskia's, Hendrick van Uylenborch, was, as we know, 
established in the town, where, after practising for a time with little 
success as a painter, he became a dealer in pictures and bric-a-brac. 
We know further that Rembrandt, even before leaving Le)-den, 
was sufficiently intimate with him to lend him a considerable sum 
of money, and to accept his hospitality during his brief sojourns 
in Amsterdam. When the young master settled in the city, these 
friendly relations were maintained, and we may naturally conclude 

K 




Puj; i RAl 1 liK SAMvlA. 

1632 (Stockholm Museum^ 



I30 REMBRANDT 

that it was Hendrick who induced Saskia to hav^e her portrait painted 
by Rembrandt. The young couple were thus brought together, 
and were apparently mutually pleased. It gradually became a habit 
with Saskia to visit the artist's studio, and she sat to him again twice in 
this same year, 1632. But on these occasions the result was not a set 
portrait as before, and the likenesses in the Stockholm Museum and 
the Liechtenstein Gallery^ are very different in character to the 
Haro example. Dated 1632, and signed with the monogram used 
by Rembrandt at this period, the one represents Saskia in profile, 
the other full-face. Her peculiar and, in our opinion, easily recog- 
nisable features are modelled with no less delicacy than before, but 
with greater breadth, the result being more a study than a portrait. 
Her face had become familiar to Rembrandt, and he now lays greater 
stress on the dazzling bloom of her fair complexion, the expression of 
her small but brilliant eyes, and the beauty of the silky hair, waving 
in golden abundance about her face. The costume, which is almost 
identical in both studies, is less severe than in the earlier portrait. 
The young sitter has allowed the painter to drape her in the gold- 
embroidered cloak which was one of his studio "properties," and 
in which various members of his family had already figured. The 
costume and general treatment of these two portraits, which evidently 
followed close upon the earlier picture, seem to indicate a rapid 
growth of intimacy between the two young people. 

We believe Saskia to be the original of another work, signed, and 
dated 1632, which was famous at the end of the last century as The 
Jewish Bi'ide.- It was recently bought from Sir Charles Robinson 
,by M. Sedelmeyer, and has since passed into the possession of Prince 
Liechtenstein. Seated, and almost facing the spectator, the young 
woman wears a white satin dress embroidered with gold, and over it 
the heavy crimson mantle we have already pointed out in several 
pictures of this period. An old woman stands behind her, combing 
her long fair hair. The figures are relieved by an architectural 
background of warm gray, which brings out the reds of the drapery, 
and the fresh carnations. A low bench and a candelabrum are 
just distinguishable against the wall. The face and hands of the 
young woman are exquisitely modelled in very high tones, and 
the learned precision of touch and transparent delicacy of the 
chiaroscuro make this labour of love one of the most important, 
as it is certainly one of the best preserved works inspired by 
Saskia at this period. Dr. Bode, however, believes that this picture, 
and the portraits just described, represent Rembrandt's sister 
Lysbeth. But against this opinion we may urge that Rembrandt is not 
likely to have painted an elaborate portrait of his sister, like that in 
M. Haro's collection, at a time when he was overwhelmed with com- 
missions, and that such careful treatment of the model was entirely 

^ The latter was bought at the Secretan sale. 

^ It figured in Madame de Bandeville's sale in 1787 under this name. 

^ See the article in the Graphischen Kunste already quoted. 



GROWING INTIMACY 131 

opposed to his usual dealinors with sitters of his own family. Besides 
which, a comparison of the various studies here reproduced with 
the acknowledged portrait of Saskia in the Cassel Gallery, to 
which we shall return presently, will convince our readers of 
the identity of type, so far as it is possible to trace it in works so 
freely treated, and so evidently rather in the nature of studies than 
of portraits. 

Be this as it may. Rembrandt now neglected no opportunity of 
closer intimacy with Saskia. He had made the acquaintance of the 
Sylvius family, with whom she was living at this time, and a portrait 
of the minister occurs among the etchings of 1633. Sylvius was then a 
man of about sixty-nine, and had been working in the ministry for over 
forty years. He was held in general respect, and a Latin epigraph, 
written by C. van Baerle for another portrait of Sylvius, engraved by 
Rembrandt in 1646, justly extols his learning, his eloquence, his 
simplicity of life and dignity of manners, and the authority with which 
such qualities endued his teaching and example. In the print of 
1633 Sylvius is represented almost full face. His features are 
venerable and somewhat austere, and their expression harmonises 
with his bearing and attitude. He has paused for a moment 
in his reading, and meditates, his two hands laid upon the open 
book before him. An inscription made by Rembrandt on one 
of the prints shows that the artist had presented him with several 
impressions of the portrait : " To Jan Cornelis Sylvius, these four 
impressions." ■ 

Rembrandt's numerous portraits of Saskia, and his attentions to 
members of her family, proclaim the feelings with which the young 
girl had inspired him. Love, once admitted into that passionate heart, 
had taken absolute possession. Up to this date the young painter 
had lived a very retired life at Amsterdam ; he had no taste for the 
amusements that pleased his brother-artists, and was never to be met 
with in any of the taverns or other haunts frequented bv them. 
Absorbed in his art, he never willingly left his studio. A man with 
such habits and with Rembrandt's loving disposition must have longed 
for a home of his own ; his thoughts naturally turned to marriage. 
His meeting with the gentle well-born girl was not without results. 
She, he felt, was the mate for him. He accordingly unbosomed 
himself to the Sylviuses, her guardians. In a family which, though 
mainly composed of ministers and lawyers, already reckoned several 
artists among its members, no prejudice was likely to be felt against 
his calling. De Geest was making an honourable living in Friesland, 
where he was highly esteemed ; a cousin of Saskia's, named Rom- 
bertus like her father, was also a painter, and, fmally, there was 
Hendrick van Uylenborch, ready to answer for his friend at need. 
He had kept up the most friendly relations wiih the artist, and to 
him Rembrandt confided in 1633 the sale of the important engraving 

^ The print in question belonged to Madame van Lennep, a descendant of Sylvius, 
in i86o. 

K 2 



132 



REMBRANDT 



the Descent fi'om the Cross, which, if not actually by the master 
himself, was at least executed from his design and bears his signature. 
Hendrick's dealings with collectors enabled him to give his relatives 
a favourable account of the young painter's means. No artist was 
more souo-ht after in Amsterdam at that period, nor was there one 
whose future seemed so full of brilliant promise. He was the fashion- 
able portrait-painter of the day ; sitters of the highest social position in 
Amsterdam were always to be found in his studio ; the StatJioiider 

himself had honoured 
him with important com- 
missions. His earnings 
were therefore consider- 
able, and even to a bride 
of independent fortune, 
like Saskia, the position 
he offered was an envi- 
able one. The evidence 
as to character was 
equally favourable, his 
goodness to his parents, 
his studious life, and 
temperate habits being 
greatly to his credit. 
His moderation was re- 
markable, for, according 
to Houbraken : " He 
lived very simply, and 
when at work contented 
himself with a herring 
or a piece of cheese, 
and bread." His only 
extravagance was one 
with which Hendrick 
was not disposed to 
find fault. This was 
his passion for curiosi- 
ties and objets d'art, 
which he was just be- 
ginning to collect. But no one was likely to blame him for thus 
adorning his dwelling. It seemed, indeed, commendable, and in some 
measure a guarantee of domesticity. We may add that the portraits 
he painted of himself at this period — one at Dulwich, and one at 
Petworth, both dated 1632, and very delicately handled; one in the 
Hague Museum (about 1633 — 1634), where he figures in the martial 
costume he loved to don ; and two in the Louvre, dated 1633 and 
1634, where the treatment is broader and freer — all represent him as 
peculiarly attractive in person. The last of these, especially, is the 
portrait of an accomplished cavalier ; his open face and confident 




PORTRAIT OF SASKIA. 

1632 (Liechtenstein Collection). 



THE ENGAGEMENT 



135 



bearing bespeak the full maturity of strength and of genius, together 
with the easy good breeding of one at home in society. 

The career that was opening before Rembrandt, his sober 
life, his industry, and his personal charm, pleaded powerfully in 
his favour. The position he had secured by his talents was such as to 
inspire confidence even in the cautious minds of the Sylviuses, 
while Saskia was naturally won by his youthful ardour, and the halo of 
glory that already encircled his name. His suit was successful, and 
the numerous portraits he painted of his betrothed show that the youno- 
couple were much together. But, whether to test the strength of their 
attachment, or to allow the 
young girl herself to be- 
stow her hand upon her 
lover, the marriage w^as 
deferred till after her ma- 
jority. In the interval, 
Rembrandt fed his pas- 
sion, both for Saskia and 
for his art, by multiply- 
ing portraits of her. We 
recognise her type, as 
we know it from Prince 
Liechtenstein's picture of 
1632, in an oval painting 
belonging to Baron 
Hirsch, dated 1633. The 
head, with its unruly 
auburn hair, rounded fore- 
head, and dainty, pouting 
mouth, is turned almost 
full to the spectator. 
The fresh carnations are 
brought into strong relief 
by the brown background 
and the neutral gray of 
the deep shadows. In 
another portrait, in the 
Dresden Museum, signed, 
and dated 1633, the head is slightly turned, and gail)- illuminated by a 
ray of sunlight. The crimson cap with its gray plume throws a warm 
transparent shadow over the forehead. A blue dress patterned with 
white is coquettishly trimmed with gold loops and shoulder-knots, and 
the hands are encased in gray gloves. The half-closed eyes twinkle 
roguishly, and the smiling lips reveal teeth whiter than the pearls 
upon the chemisette. Radiant in all her youthful bloom, Saskia seems 
to be dreaming of the life which looked so full of happy promise. 

The portrait of Saskia in the Cassel Gallery is of a totally difterent 
character. Though painted with extreme care, and perhaps one of the 
most finished and elaborate of Reml)randt's works, it is neither signed 




PORTRAIT OF SASKIA. 

About 1634 (Casscl Museum). 



7 34 REMBRANDT 

nor dated. It was probably painted for Saskia herself, and there was 
no need to attest an authenticity which the picture itself proclaimed.^ 
The young girl wears a broad-brimmed hat of red velvet, with a 
sweeping white feather. Her face is in profile, and this must certainly 
have been the aspect he thought most favourable to her, for she is 
about the only person he painted thus. The complexion is as brilliant 
as ever, and, though the face is now rather thinner than in the Haro 
and Stockholm portraits, the characteristic features are the same, not- 
ably the shape of the eyes, the nose, thickening a little towards the 
end, and the slightly compressed lips. Saskia's dress and jewels are 
extremely rich, and her picturesque but voyant costume is rendered 
with great elaboration.^ It is evident that, together with a scrupulous 
study of nature, the painter desired to show the utmost refinement 
of knowledge in his modelling, enhanced by all the additional charm 
to be won from harmony of colour and delicacy of chiaroscuro. An 
allusion to the relations between the artist and his model is to be 
found in the sprig of rosemary — .the emblem of betrothal in Holland — 
which the young girl holds against her heart with her right hand. 

As the date fixed for their marriage was still distant, Saskia left 
Amsterdam for Franeker in the autumn of 1633. She may have 
been summoned by her sister Antje, who was probably an invalid 
at the time, for she died November 9, 1633. Saskia then went 
to the Van Loos, at Anna-Parocchie, where she spent the winter. 
But she must have paid a visit to Amsterdam in the spring of 1634, 
for Rembrandt then painted a fresh portrait of her. This was the 
picture in the Hermitage, somewhat unaccountably known as 
The Jewish Bride. The title Flora would be more appropriate. 
Following a very general fashion of the period, Saskia is arrayed as a 
shepherdess, and stands at the mouth of a grotto hung with creepers. 
In her right hand she holds a flower-twined crook ; on her head is a 
heavy wreath of ranunculus, anemone, fritillary and iris, a columbine, 
and a striped red and white tulip. Some sprays of foliage are 
intermixed with these perhaps somewhat over-abundant spring 
blossoms. They are, however, very carefully studied from 
nature, and fix the season at which the picture was painted. The 
date, 1634, in white figures is placed under the master's signature. The 
rosy face, turned almost full to the spectator, is strongly illuminated. 
The luxuriant hair enframing it falls in disorder upon the shoulders. 
An Oriental scarf is crossed upon her breast, and with her left hand she 
draws round her the folds of a wide mantle of pale green, which is thrown 
over her white brocaded gown. Her attitude, the slightly bent figure, 
and the massing of the folds about the waist, give her a somewhat 
matronly air, and, but for the unquestionable authenticity of the date, 

^ The replica of this portrait in the Antwerp Museum, which long passed for an 
original, is a somewhat heavy and mediocre copy made in Rembrandt's lifetime, probably 
by one of his pupils. 

- The skilful restoration undertaken by Herr Hauser in 18S8 has revived the extra- 
ordinary brilliance of this picture, and has brought to light several poitivicnti, such as an 
alteration of the hat, which Rembrandt, eager to beautify his mistress, had at first adorned 
with one or two more feathers. 



Port rail of Saskia (ahoul /6^6 —l6^j). 

(mk. samuki. i<>si:ni\ ciii.i.kciiun.) 




OTHER PORTRAITS OF SASKIA 135 

the portrait might well have been painted a year later. Innocent and 
engaging in her brilliant draperies and gaily tinted flowers, she 
stands, a graceful apparition, the light falling full upon her. Spring 
itself seems to be singing a paean of love and poetry from the 
master's palette, at the dawn of that year which was to bring about the 
propitious union. Rembrandt seems to have been pleased with the 
travesty, for he repeated it, with but slight modifications, in another 
picture painted not long after, which belonged successively to W. H. 
Fortescue, the Duke of Buccleuch, and Sir Joshua Reynolds, and in 
later times to Sir Edmund Lechmcre. The composition is almost 
identical ; the young woman faces the spectator, her abundant hair 
falling about her shoulders. As in the Hermitage picture, she carries a 
crook wreathed with flowers ; but her dress is cut rather lower, and in 
her left hand she holds a nosegay. The execution is very free, 
and the treatment more decorative than in the earlier example. 

At the beginning of the summer, Saskia returned to her sister 
Hiskia. The date of the wedding was fixed, and Rembrandt was soon 
to rejoin her. In the marriage 
register of Amsterdam, under 
the date June 10, 1634, we 

find the declaration made L-^ '^^ *\^t^t^'^*f/*^ 

before the commissaries by 
the preacher Jan Cornells Sylvius, who, as Saskia's cousin, pledges 
himself on her behalf to ofive his formal consent to the marriasfe 
before the third publication of the banns. On his side Rembrandt 
Harmensz van Rijn, of Leyden, aged twenty-six years, residing in the 
Breestraat, engages to produce his mother's consent in due course, 
and triumphantly adds the signature of which we give a facsimile.^ 

Rembrandt, we may conclude, fetched this consent from Leyden 
himself, taking the opportunity of a visit to his mother, and then 
hastened to rejoin Saskia. Four days later, on June 14, he brought 
the notarial act dealing with the authorisation to Amsterdam, and 
appealed to the commissaries to abridge some of the formalities con- 
nected with the publication of the banns. When all was in order, the 
artist returned to his bride ; the marriage took place in the town- 
hall of Bildt, in the presence of the Van Loos, June 22. 1634, 
and was afterwards solemnized at the parish church by the minister, 
Rodolf Hermansz Luinga. 

Ardent in temperament and somewhat unsociable as we know 
Rembrandt to have been, we can readily imagine that he hastened 
to carry off his bride to the home he had prepared, and in which 
he was impatient to hide his happiness from the world. Saskia's 
simple and loving nature knew no wishes but her husband's. 
Entirely devoted to him, she never sought to direct his 
course, and there was no consciousness of sacrifice in the 
readiness with which she gave up all to him. Rembrandt's tastes 
and pleasures should be hers. To him, idleness was impossible; 

"^ Reinbratidt : Discours sur sa Vie et son Gau\\ liy Dr. Scheltenia ; published and 
annotated by W. Burger. Paris. Rciiouard. 1S66. 



136 



REMBRANDT 




rejoicing- in the possibility of combining the two passions of his 
heart, he set to work at once, takino- advantage of the charming 
model who henceforth was never to leave him. A beautiful 
silver point sketch in the Berlin Museum, to which Vosmaer 
was the first to call attention, shows us Saskia's pleasant features, 
drawn with a firm and elegant touch. The young woman, who wears 
a broad-brimmed hat. rests her head upon her left hand, and holds 
a (lower in her right. Her face is full of a sweet tranquillity. The 
inscription written below by Rembrandt gives us the following in- 
formation : "This is a portrait of my wife at the age of twenty-one, 
drawn the third day after we were betrothed, June 8, 1633." 

Vosmaer's rendering of the Dutch 
term getroitiut by the word 
" married " raises a question as to 
the authenticity of this drawing, 
for Rembrandt and Saskia were 
married, as we know, on June 22, 
1634 ; but, as Dr. Bredius points 
out, getroiizut was also used in the 
sense of engaged, betrothed. We 
therefore fully concur with Dr. 
Bode, who, like Vosmaer, believes 
the drawing to be by Rembrandt. 
He justifies the attribution by 
arguments not merely sufficient 
in themselves,^ but fully borne 
out by the execution, and its 
analoLTies with various etchings of 
this period, representing either 
Rembrandt himself or Saskia. We 
may instance a charming little 
portrait of the latter, dated 1634 
(B. 347). drawn with a firm and 
skilful hand, the face in profile 
again, and the general appear- 
ance marked by great elegance. A 
fitting pendant may be found in the small portrait of the master 
himself: Rembrandt zuit/i vumstachios (B. 2). It is neither signed 
nor dated, but from the great similarity of handling, we believe it to 
belong to the same year. The air of youth, of manly assurance, and 
of good breeding that characterise this little etching, make it one of 
the most attractive of the master's many renderings of himself. 

Among the works of this period, many more important than these 
were also inspired by Saskia. Rembrandt, we know, did not wait till 
after his marriage to deck her according to his fancy. But now that 
she had become his house-mate, he brought out all the treasures of his 
wardrobes to vary her attire. For the next few years, she was his 
most frequent model, and the greater number of his pictures were 

^ Sfudien, p. 423. 



PORTRAIT OF SASKIA. 

1634 (B. 347). 



■jro?^55«'' 



if-- ^- 



1.^^: 


•?!^^1; • 






1* 


■ ,^ 


^mm^ 




f" 




W^ 




%^ 




\ 




1 




M 


' ^ 


!si 




^ 









\; 


:;^. 










srri/TiA/ J .9^ 



frl-O.-y^' 



.^ 










J\)]-hai( of Saskia {i(\^s). 

Lcail IViicil. 

(mCKLIN PRINT ROOM.) 



SASKIA STUDIES AND PORTRAITS 



137 



directly or indirectly suggested by her. Just as in earlier days he had 
made use of himself and of the various members of his family, for his 
studies, he now took full advantage of the 'complaisant model by his 
side. We recognise Saskia's type in a picture, recently bought by 




THE JEWISH BRIDE. 

1634 (Hermitage). 



M. Sedelmeyer in England. It belongs to this period, but is 
disfigured, unfortunately, by several repaints. The likeness to Saskia 
is more apparent in the picture at the Prado, Madrid, siorned and 
dated 1634.^ It figures in the Catalogue 7}^^ Artciuisia rcccii'ing the 

^ This signature and date are written in white, as in the so called yiTt'/V/t Bride of the 
Hermitage, which belongs to the same year. 



138 



REMBRANDT 



Ashes of Maiisolus, and the title Cleopatra at her Toilet has also been 
su'Tcrested. The scene is, in fact, somewhat enigmatical ; but we 
believe it to be probably some episode from Scripture that is 
represented ; Bathshcba, the Bride of Tobias, or Judith, would 
perhaps more aptly describe it, as Rembrandt rarely drew his subjects 
from profane history, and showed a marked preference for sacred 
themes. The young woman, whoever she may be, is turned full to 
the spectator, and brilliantly illuminated. One hand is laid upon her 
breast, the other on a table covered with a cloth, on which is an open 
book. A little girl on the right hands her a small cup, shaped like a 
nautilus, and an old attendant, who has assisted at her toilet, is just 
distinguishable in the shadow of the background. She wears a rich 
costume, and her luxuriant hair floats upon her shoulders. The 
features, which are somewhat sharply accentuated, and outlined by 
dark shadows, look rather vulgar in the vivid light, and the only 
touch of elegance is in the plump and delicate hands. The harmony 
is hi<^di and cool in tone ; the colour scheme, as in the Jewish Bride 
of the Hermitage, being made up of pale greens and silvery grays. 

Two large portraits dated 1634, which form a pair, were recently 
(In 1SS9) sold in America. They were at one time in the Princesse 
de Sagan's collection, and we believe them to represent Rembrandt 
and S'askia. There are differences, it is true, but the features, 
though somewhat more elongated, diverge but slightly from the 
familiar types, and we believe that the artist, here as on other 
occasions, has concerned himself litde with exactitude of likeness, 
treating the works rather as studies than as portraits. The costumes 
in which the persons are arrayed confirm such an idea. The 
yellowish chemisette, worn under a low bodice with a gold trimming, 
the mantle, fastened both by a clasp and chain, the comb set 
with pearls, and the numerous jewels, we have already seen in many 
of Saskia's portraits, and Rembrandt's fondness for the martial 
accoutrements in which he figures, is attested by several earlier 
pictures. Both portraits have deteriorated ; the opacity of the shadows, 
which gives them a hard and somewhat gloomy aspect, is due, no 
doubt, to their indifterent preservation. 

The likeness to Saskia and Rembrandt is more apparent, 
though not very exact, in the so-called Burgomaster Paiicras and 
his Jl^ije, in the Queen's collection at Buckingham Palace. Misled 
by the title, Vosmaer assigned this work to the year 1645, the date 
of the Burgomaster's marriage. But the husband Is undoubtedly 
Rembrandt, and in the wife's face, save that the oval is rather less 
pronounced, we recognise Saskia's characteristic features, her rosy 
mouth, her prominent forehead, and the fair hair waving above 
it. With Dr. Bredius, we think that the picture must have been 
painted about 1635.^ The young woman sits before her mirror, 
dressed in a rich costume. She is putting the finishing touches to 

* It is signed : Kembrant, and, as Dr. Bode has pointed out, this form of the signa- 
ture, which appears on etchings of 1632, and on the Susanna of 1637, in the Hague 
Museum, was never used after the latter date. 



SASKIA STUDIES AND PORTRAITS 139 

her toilet ; with a somewhat affected gesture, she fastens a pearl in 
her ear, and contemplates the effect with a languishing air. As if 
she were not already sufficiently bejewelled, her husband, who stands 
behind her, holds a pearl necklace in readiness for further adornment. 
He himself wears a rich fancy costume of dark green, the tones of 
which form a beautiful harmony with the vivid red of the 
table-cover. On this occasion Rembrandt evidently arrayed 
his wife himself, enrichlno- her costume with the crori^eous 
draperies and jewels he had gathered together for her. His 
taste for such acquisitions grew with his delight in thus 
applying them, and he began to lavish money on the artistic 
treasures with which he beautified his home. Always something 
of a recluse, he had none of the desire for chano-e and 
travel so common among his brother-painters. His world 
was but some few feet in extent. It lay between the four 
walls of a dwelling now doubly dear, since it sheltered both his 
work and his affections. Some courage may perhaps have been 
necessary at first, to resist the various temptations that beset his 
youth and isolated position in a great city. But work had now 
become an imperious necessity to him. Impatient of all distractions, 
he wished for no pleasures outside his art, that a.rt which was so 
closely interwoven with his Hfe, which coloured its every transaction, 
and to which he turned for the expression of every emotion, profound 
or transient. Thus the most trifling events of his career are 
recorded in his pictures. He withdrew himself from the eyes of 
the world to give his fullest confidence to his art, and in his works 
his most secret thoughts are revealed to us. 

In their happy solitude, forgetful of the outside world, and free 
from all restraints, the newly married pair tound their pleasure, like 
children, in the merest trifles. Each day some fresh travesty and 
amusement was devised, some feast or comedy, where each entertained 
the other, and where they themselves were the sole guests and actors. 
But even on days like these, the painter coukl not be idle. He has 
immortalised one of these innocent orgies in the famous picture 
of the Dresden Gallery, where he has painted himself, with 
Saskia sitting on his knee. So fragile and dainty is the little 
bride that she looks a mere child, in spite of her twenty-two )ears, and 
her delicate charm is enhanced by contrast with Rembrandt's robust 
manhood. The artist is seated in a chair, dressed in a military 
costume, and l)randishes a long glass of sparkling wine in his right 
hand. With his left, he clasps his wife's waist. Saskia wears a rich, 
but somewhat fantastic dress. Her sweet, fresh face is turned 
towards the spectator. Before them is a table covered with an Eastern 
rug, on which are a plate, and a raised pie surmounted by a peacock 
with out-spread tail. Rembrandt, whose eyes are slightly misty, 
laughs aloud, displaying l)()th rows of teeth, and shakes his flowing 
hair. Saskia's face looks smaller than ever beside his great head ; she 
might be a fairy in the grasp of a giant, confident of her own power, 
trustful and hai)py in the love she has inspired. Her exi)ression is 



I40 



REMBRANDT 



calm, and she seems rather astonished than amused ; the faintest 
suspicion of a smile hovers about her lips. As to the master himself, 
his noisy gaiety is rather forced ; the part he plays seems to involve 
a certain degree of effort. It is evident that such junketings are 
not usual with him ; that he is a man of sober habits, attracted 
by the picturesque aspect of the scene, rather than by its appeal to 
gluttony and sensuality. The exquisite distinction of the harmony, 




THE BLRGOMASTER PANCRAS AND HIS WIFK. 

About 1635 (Buckingham Palaci). 



made up of subdued reds and dull greens, the softness and delicacy of 
the chiaroscuro, the sedate and accurate execution, seem to enter an 
involuntary protest against Rembrandt's choice of subject. 

It is difficult here to avoid an invidious comparison with Hals ; we 

imagine the devil-may-care vigour with which he would have endued such 

an episode ; and recall his rollicking ^'iciuvno^ Ramp and his Mistress} 

There, no shadow of constraint or of shame-facedness is to be found. 

1 Now in the possession of the Comte de Pourtales in Paris. 




J\ciiibra]id( and Saskia (abonl l(\^s)- 

(dKESDEN r.AI.LF.RV.) 



REMBRANDT AND SASKIA 



141 



The couple are not posing ; they have no thought for the gallery ; they 
arc intent on their own amusement, and are enjoying themselves to their 
hearts' content. What a well-matched pair ! With what ardour does the 
red-cheeked damsel press against the youth, into whose hot head the 
wine has already mounted ! Beside himself, his eyes aflame, he shouts 
at the top of his voice. A large yellow dog, infected by the excitement 
of his owners, thrusts his muzzle in between them, begging for a 
caress. The feverish brilliance of the execution is in perfect harmony 
with the scene. What decisive vigour in the brushing! With what 
ease the master rises to the requisite pitch of intoxication ! Hals, 
a frequenter of taverns, had often witnessed such scenes, and 
delighted to reproduce them. But neither the laxity nor the 
bravura essential to their treatment was proper to Rembrandt's 
temperament. He was not at home in this domain, and indeed, 
made few excursions thither. In his quest for novelty, he seized, 
it is true, the opportunity of treating a new aspect of life, the elements 
of which lay ready to his hand. He loved to vary his labours in 
this fashion, to pass from some study undertaken for his improvement, 
to a carefully executed portrait, or a composition that stimulated his 
imagination and his creative faculties. He sought repose in change 
of occupation ; and though in other respects he was incapable of 
directing or resisting the impulses of his ardent nature, he at least 
never failed to turn every successive phase of circumstance to account 
in the development of his art. The one point on which he showed 
himself inflexible was in exacting respect for his working hours. This 
was a matter in which he allowed no trifling. In the hey-day of his 
happiness, as throughout the cruel sufferings that awaited him, he 
remained the laborious, indefati^jable craftsman, content with nothin'-'- 
short of the highest achievement, and knowing no satisfaction greater 
than that of entire absorption in his work. 




THt CKlCIFlXli'N. 

About 1634 (6. 8o)i 




PEN DRAWING, HEIGHTENED WITH WASH. 

(Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 



CHAPTER X 

Rembrandt's ETCHINGS of this period (1632-1639) — his diversity of method 

— STUDIES of himself AND FAMILIAR SUBJECTS — PORTRAIT OF J. UYTENBOGAERD 
— RELIGIOUS COMPOSITIONS — REMBRANDT's COLLABORATORS — THE ' RESURRECTION 

OF LAZARUS,' THE ' DESCENT FROM THE CROSS,' AND THE ' ECCE HOMO ' THE 

THREE 'oriental HEADS ' — THE 'ABRAHAM'S SACRIFICE' 11 THE HERMITAGE. 




AS Rembrandt loved to vary the subjects 
of his studies, so, too, he took 
pleasure in constant change from one 
process to another, and in fully developing 
the special capacities of each. He painted, 
drew, and engraved in turn. In his early 
etchings his methods were extremely simple, 
in some cases consisting merely of a few 
strokes of the needle. Even towards the close 
of his career, he occasionally produced one of 
these open and simple plates, eloquent in 
their very concision. But at the same time, 
he was unwearied in research and experiment 
beariuQ: on the art in which he had achieved 
such mastery. He was thus enabled to attempt and to render effects 
beyond the reach of his predecessors. Learned and complex as were 
many of his processes, he showed none of the specialist's narrow- 
ness in their application ; he made free use of them, adapting 
them to the exigencies of the moment, and combining them 
skilfully for the purpose in view. His first consideration was the 
expression of his thought, and his etchings are always those of a 
creative artist. The impossibility of detecting his various artifices, 
and the extraordinary skill with which he combined and varied them, 
have been much insisted on. But the true secret of his success was 



TWO TRAVFI.LING PEASANTS. 

About 1634(6. 144). 



ETCHING FROM 1632 TO 1639 143 

his genius. Never relying on mere formulae to solve difficulties or 
display technical mastery, he made his docile hand subservient to his 
commanding mind. A sketch of a few rapid lines was a sufficient 
record of an idea ; while in many instances, his conception of a picture 
was so vivid, he saw the finished work so completely in his mind's eye, 
that he was able to dispense entirely with preparation. Instead 
therefore of tracing from a preliminary drawing, after the manner 
of most etchers, he sketched his design directly on the copper, and, 
as Bartsch judiciously observes : " though this perhaps was not the 
surest means of producing a correct drawing, it effectually preserved all 
the fire of a first conception."^ This vitality was indeed a characteristic 
of his execution, and in many of his works there is such a sudden and 
vivid quality, such an air of living warmth and movement, that the 
spectator feels as if he were actually looking on at their creation. 

To Rembrandt one of the charms of etching was that it admits of 
corrections. A severe critic of his own plates, he would lay them 
aside altogether if they fell below his expectations, or would return to 
them again and again, never conceiving of them as finished ; as with 
several of his pictures, he overloaded too many by continual 
retouching. But when he held his hand at the right moment, or 
worked out an idea methodically, he produced masterpieces of extra- 
ordinary originality. The successive retouches, when judiciously 
applied, gave prodigious flexibility and diversity of effect. In his best 
plates the mingled audacity and self-control that characterised him 
find expression in marvellous variety of treatment. The touch is now 
harsh and abrupt, now mellow and caressing ; forms sharply indicated 
by a few strokes of the needle in the high lights, melt away into 
mysterious shadow ; in some places the white of the paper is left 
almost untouched, and plays an important part in the effect ; in 
others it disappears entirely under intense velvety blacks, strong yet 
transparent. Between the two extremes we note the play of 
exquisitely delicate modulations, an infinite variety of values, pro- 
duced either by elaborate gradations of illumination, or by differences 
of handling. The student is amazed at the expressive power 
manifested with such restricted methods, at the tones of sonorous 
harmony the master draws from the instrument he himself created 
— an instrument which, answering to his every touch, enabled him to 
call up at will the most vivid of realities, or the most fantastic of visions. 

At the period with which we are now concerned, Rembrandt, by 
dint of unceasing labour and unwearied experiment, had made himself 
completely master of the difficult art of the aquafortist. His etchings 
of this date display every aspect of his talent,' and range from the 
most summary sketches to the most finished compositions. He 

^ Bartsch, Essai sur la Vie et les CEuvres de Reinb7'andt. Vienna. i797' 
2 I would take leave to remark that the broad landscape etchings — 7vith their novel vision 
of the world — all belong to a later period, and that the large afid luminous method adopted 
in the ' Clement de Jonghe' 0/ iG^i can hardly be said to have been anticipated twelve 
years before. — F. W. 



144 REMBRANDT 

continued to take himself for his model, as he had hitherto done, 
and as he did indeed to the end of his career. In the plate known 
as Rembrandt with a scarf, signed and dated 1633 (B. 17), he 
has made his own features the pretext for a study of light. The 
greater portion of the head is in deep shadow, through which 
the eyes gleam like carbuncles, while the abruptness of the con- 
trasts, and the somewhat truculent expression of the shaggy head, 
recall the little portrait In the Cassel Gallery (No. 208), one of 
his earliest works. In most of these studies he indulges his fancy 
for travesty. Thus we find him playing the grandee in a plumed 
cap and braided tunic, a falcon on his wrist (B. 3).. This plate 
was no doubt ill-prepared, and consequently thrown aside by 
the master, for he neither signed nor dated it. The first state, 
which is of extreme rarity, was supplemented by some later 
Impressions, but the coarse retouches in these are certainly not by 
his own hand. Two plates, somewhat later in the series ( B. 18 and 
23 ), are signed, and dated 1634. In the first, his expression is serious 
and important ; he wears an ermine cape fastened closely round the 
throat, and a rich gold chain, and grasps a curved sword In his hand. 
The other, a more delicately executed piece of work, represents him 
in the costume of a Hungarian magnate; he wears the familiar steel 
gorget, and a little cap with an aigrette. The likeness is not very 
striking, and a small wart on the right cheek has caused it to be 
disputed that Rembrandt was his own model for this plate. But 
we know that he never adhered very closely to the original in studies 
of this nature, and the fanciful dress, the general appearance, and the 
penetrating expression of the eyes, incline us to accept it as a free 
rendering of his own personality.^ It was probably his habit to keep 
several plates always ready to work upon ; but if he chanced to be 
short of these he would take such as came first to hand, even If they 
happened to be already occupied. A little study of himself, made 
about 1632, of which only the face is finished ( B. 363 ), is drawn 
upon a plate on which he had already scratched several heads of old 
men, and two beo-crars. 

Among the members of his own circle who were his models at this 
period, none are already familiar to us but Saskia, of whom there is 
the little portrait already mentioned, with others to be later described, 
and his mother. An etching of the latter ( B. 351 ) is dated 1633. It 
may have been executed during some brief visit to Leyden, but Is 
more probably a variation on an earlier plate, the features and attitude 
bearing a strong likeness to the Bust Portrait of 1631 ( B. 349). But 
in addition to these family studies, wc shall find a goodly number 
made from persons of all ranks and ages, more especially from 
those old men with hooked noses and strongly marked features, 

^ In the first state of this Rembrandt unth a Sword and Aigrette, the figure is three- 
quarters length, and the plate is undated, in the latter impressions, where the figure is 
reduced to the head and shoulders, and the plate cut into an oval shape, the date 1634 
appears with the signature. 



PORTRAIT OF JAN UYTENBOGAERD 



145 



of whom he found such a variety of picturesque specimens among 
the Jewish colony in Amsterdam. To these he turned for the 
types that figure as rabbis and patriarchs in his Bibhcal com- 
positions. Sometimes these studies were dashed off instantaneously 
in a fev/ rapid, but purposeful strokes. The Bald old Man with a 
short Beard (B. 306), whom we shall recognise in many subsequent 
pictures and etchings, is a typical example of this treatment. In other 
instances very expressive and even elaborate work is contained in the 
same small dimensions, 
as in the little plate of 
An old ]Vonian asleep 
(B. 350). Overcome 
by drowsiness in the 
midst of her reading, 
she leans forward, her 
head resting on her 
hand, in a drooping 
attitude of wonderful 
truth and reality. An 
Old Man zuitli a Lono- 
Beard and a Fur Cap 
(B. 262) is even finer, 
though earlier by some 
years, for it bears the 
monogram affected by 
the master in 1632. 
The print is rich in 
colour, the execution 
peculiarly firm and 
frank, the rendering of 
the various surfaces — 
furs, velvets and stuffs 
— admirably suggest- 
ive, while its intimate 
expression of character 

places this etching among the most fascinating of the master's works 
at this period. 

Another portrait, more important than that of Sylvius, is signed and 
dated 1635, and may be said to close this series. It represents 
the Remonstrant Minister, Jan Uytenbogaerd, a personage who played 
a great part in the religious history of Holland. Born in 1557, the 
famous preacher was appointed chaplain to Maurice of Nassau at the 
outset of his career, and had remained in the prince's service fifteen 
years, accompanying him in all his military expeditions. Condemned 
together with the followers of Arminius at the Synod of Dort in 
1 61 8, Maurice's influence had not sufficed to save him from persecu- 
tion, and he fled the country to escape from his enemies. He 
took refuge first at Amiens, and afterwards in Paris, till the 




BUST OP REMBRANDT, IN AN OVAL. 

1634 (D. 23). 



146 REMBRANDT 

accession of Prince Frederick Henry enabled him to return to 
the Hacrue in 1625. When Rembrandt painted him ten years later, 
Uytenbogaerd was seventy-eight. His features are somewhat worn, 
and his benevolent gaze has a touch of sadness ; but his frank and 
open countenance bears the impress of that resolute stoicism which 
neither age nor suffering could quench, and to which Grotius paid a 
fitting tribute in the inscription he composed for the portrait : Jactatus 
viultum ; nee tantiim fraetus ab annis. The modelling and drawing 
are equally bold and confident ; and the treatment is broad, though 
sufficiently elaborated. Hence the general effect is simple, and the 
plate, with which three of the most famous names in Dutch history 
are associated, worthily inaugurates that great series of etched 
portraits, nearly all of which may be ranked among Rembrandt's 
masterpieces. 

The execution of these portraits brought Rembrandt into contact 
with some of his most distinguished countrymen. Meanwhile, his 
studies of the proletariat were not neglected. He loved to contemplate 
those scenes of popular life, the actors in which show themselves as 
they are, and ingenuously display their feelings, with no thought 
of reserves or affectations. He set himself to reflect this absolute 
sincerity in his renderings of the street life of Amsterdam. He 
shows us Travelling Miisieians (B. 119), performers on bag-pipes and 
hurdy-gurdy, regaling an astonished audience with their discordant 
notes; or a Rat killer (V>. 121), triumphantly displaying the slain; or 
a Mountebank {V>. 129), sword on thigh, vaunting the efficacy of his 
drugs; or a Woman making Pancakes (B. 124) in the open air, and 
turning her savoury compound in the boiling fat, to the delight of 
the street-boys round her. These were followed by A travelling 
Peasant and Ids Wife (B. 144) tramping in vagabond destitution 
through the country; another Peasant in Rags (B. 172) whines for 
an alms, ready at any moment to enforce his demand with the cudgel 
concealed behind his back. 

All these subjects were drawn lightly on the copper, either very 
frankly sketched from nature, or recorded when the impression of 
some out-door scene was fresh in the master's memory. The happy 
facility of the touch shows that he sought distraction in these 
airy trifles from the more serious works that occupied his days 
without wholly absorbing his activity. On the other hand, 
there is manifest effort in the drawings he was commissioned to 
make for some of the illustrated books Dutch publishers were pro- 
ducing in large numbers at this period. Rembrandt had no 
aptitude for such tasks. His illustration of Herckmans' text in 
the plate he engraved for that writer's poem, The Praise of Navigation 
{Der Zeevaertlof), should have ensured his exemption from work so 
little suited to his genius. His incapacity to make himself the 
medium of another's thoughts on given themes, especially when these 
were allegorical, resulted in fantastic and incoherent compositions, 
so obscure that it is impossible to say which particular passage of the 



PAINTINGS INSPIRED BY THE BIBLE 147 

author they are intended to illustrate. Thus Vosmaer sees in the 
engraving" Adverse Fortune (1633, B. iii), his first essay in this line, 
a series of allusions to the life of Saint Paul, while others, more plausibly 
in our opinion, interpret it as dealing with the events that followed 
the battle of Actium, a subject also touched upon in the text. 

When free to choose his own themes, Rembrandt drew his 
inspiration mainly from the Scriptures, to him the source alike of 
the loftiest, and of the most purely human sentiments. Fired by 
his study of the sacred page, his imagination evoked the episodes he 
proposed to treat, and marshalled them before his eyes. He then 
set himself primarily to bring out their most characteristic features. 
In this endeavour he was often seduced into vulgarity ; he introduced 
details of doubtful taste, and of such excessive homeliness that our 
sense of fitness is outraged by their presentment in solemn scenes. 
But he was essentially the child of his century and of his country ; 
and he could not take example by strangers, or conform to received 
traditions. Some of the episodes that appealed most strongly to him 
have already figured in his early works ; we shall find that he returned 
to certain of them throughout his life, and that they never lost their 
interest for him. At times his mind would be completely possessed 
by some one subject, which he would take delight in treating from 
a variety of aspects. We know that he painted a St. Je^^ome in 1631 ; 
between 1632 and 1635 three etchings were inspired by the same 
theme, to which he returned more than once in later years. The 
earliest of these plates, a St. Jerome kneeling (B. loi) was probably 
executed towards the close of 1632, for it is signed, not with the 
monogram Rembrandt habitually used throughout this year, but with 
his full name, as he wrote it at that particular period : Reinbrant. 
The other two (B. 100 and 102) are, however, both signed Rem- 
brandt, and dated 1634 and 1635 respectively. In all three we find 
the same impossible heraldic lions, the uncouthness of which has 
furnished an argument against the authenticity of these plates. The 
argument loses its force, however, when we remember that these 
identical beasts figure in the picture of 1631, and in the three 
Lion H^uits (B. 114, 115 and 116) where they are scarcely more 
realistic, though these plates belong to the year 1641. But even at 
this date the master had as yet had no opportimity of studying the 
animals from nature. 

Episodes from the lives of the patriarchs, notably Jacob, were 
also among Rembrandt's favourite subjects. The Jacob bewailing the 
Death of Joseph (B. 38) is of this jx-riod. Its authenticity has also 
been called in question, though both execution and signature seem 
to us to confirm the attribution to Rembrandt.' The frankness of 
the illumination, the simplicity of the com[)()sition, which centres 

^ This signature, Rembrant van Ryn, connects the designation van Ryn, which the 
artist affected in 1632, with the form of the name in which the d is omitted, as it ajipears 
for a time from 1633 onwards. The etching, therefore, probably belongs to the end of 
1633 or beginning of 1633. 

L 2 



148 REMBRANDT 

in one happily arranged group, the despair of the old man, 
even the gestures of the brothers, and the eagerness with which 
they note the workings of their lie in their father's face, all 
proclaim the master, and we should look in vain among his pupils 
and disciples for an artist capable of carrying out such a conception. 

Other less important plates, such as the little Flight into Egypt 
(B. 52), The Tribute iMoney (B. 68), The Crucifixion (B. 80), and the 
Martyrdom of St. Stephen (B. 97), are only noteworthy by reason of 
their picturesque qualities. We have already spoken of the Good 
Samaritan (B. 90). In the little Disciples at Emmdns (B. '^%) and the 
so-called Samaritan Woman '' zuith Ruins'' (B. 71), both of the year 
1634, the Christ has much the same characteristics. It is a type of 
singular energy, and whether seated at the modest meal at Emmaus, 
or on the edge of the w'ell by which the woman of Samaria stands, His 
gaze at the two apostles who have just recognised Him, and at the 
young w^oman who hangs upon His words with eager eyes, is full of 
the same commanding magnetism. But the air of somewhat stern 
authority and power that marks Rembrandt's conceptions of the 
Saviour at this period, is better exemplified in a Christ driving the 
Money-changers from the Temple, of 1635 (B. 69). This was a subject 
often treated by Rembrandt's forerunners, the early Dutch and 
Flemish masters, who took the opportunity of introducing those masses 
of vegetables, fowls, and fish which make Beuckelaer's and Pieter 
Aertsen's renderings of the theme mainly studies of still-life. Rem- 
brandt, though he does not omit these details, uses them merely to 
emphasise the profanation of the temple. He is rather concerned to 
oppose the indignation of Jesus, driving the dealers before Him with 
rods and their tumultuous flight, to the stolidity of the High Priest and 
his subordinates, who look on impassively at the traffic, tolerant of 
abuses so profitable to themselves. 

As compared with these plates, which, in spite of their various 
excellences, are somewhat summary in treatment, the Angel appearing 
to the Shepherds, of 1634 (B. 44), is a work of considerable elaboration, 
and shows evidences of novel aims, together with marked technical 
advance. The unearthly radiance shining through the gloom, the awe 
of the shepherds, and the mixed feelings with which they view the 
miracle, the terror of the flock, and the standing angel, with outspread 
wings and hand stretched earthward, promising " peace to men of good 
will," the firmament bright with " a multitude of the heavenly host, 
singing 'Glory to God in the highest' " — all these were elements suggested 
by the text. But Rembrandt was the first so to blend them as to 
draw its full significance from the scene. ^ The rich infinity of the 
chiaroscuro, and the eloquence of the landscape, to which he gives 

^ The work was carried through with extraordinary vigour and rapidity, as we may see 
in the first state of this print. The sketch, a very free one, consisting only of a few 
strokes, merely indicates the places of the animals and figures in the foreground. Govert 
Flinck, who afterwards treated this subject in a picture now in the Louvre, borrowed the 
general arrangement of the composition and even many of its details. 



PAINTINGS INSPIRED BY THE BIBLE 



149 



greater prominence here than he had hitherto ventured upon, so 
impress us that we seem to behold all nature trembling at the pro- 
clamation of an event that marks a new era in human history. Side 
by side with broad dense spaces, vague and shadowy in the darkness 




CcuiaCdi mLt/jtiuyTL ■ >uc {uytUi^-n V^r'i'tS a^a^'is 



J 



PORTRAIT OF UVTENBOGAHRD, 

1635 (B. 279). 



of nicjht, vigorous silhouettes, defined by gleams of li.G:ht or intense 
shadows, deUich themselves here and there, and mysterious forms are 
revealed by dim reflections in the distance. Deep, velvety blacks are 
opposed to exquisitely delicate half-tones, and in the best impressions 
of this plate every detail proclaims the intimate harmony between 



I'^O 



REMBRANDT 



handling and conception only to be found in those supreme works in 
which the soul of the poet breathes through the technical perfection 
of the artist. 

Three etchings of this period have still to be noticed. They 
are very unequal in merit, but are among the largest of Rembrandt's 
plates. All three are signed by him, but their authenticity has been 
questioned, some refusing to see Rembrandt's hand in them at all, 
others supposing them to be in part by him. In considering them 
it will therefore be necessary to deal with the more or less active 
collaboration of Rembrandt's pupils and disciples in some of his works. 
The point has been widely discussed of late, and has given rise to 
much lively controversy. We propose to sum up the various opinions 
of serious students, and to set forth, as concisely as possible, the 
conclusions at which we have arrived after an impartial survey of 
the arguments. 

It is impossible to deny the fact that Rembrandt accepted the 
collaboration of his pupils. Universal custom, and even the condi- 
tions of artistic apprenticeship at the period, sanctioned the master's 
exploitation of his scholars. The statutes of the guilds, as we have 
seen, usually limited the apprenticeship to three years. Throughout 
this term, and in fact until the pupil had himself become a master in 
the guild, he had no right either to sign or to sell his works. But 
in the third year he was allowed, under certain very rigorous 
restrictions, to paint two or three works of which he shared the 
profits. All other productions belonged to his master, who, as 
a rule, did not fail to turn them to good account. Under such 
conditions, Rembrandt was not called upon to show himself more 
scrupulous than his fellows. In the earlier works produced at 
Leyden, however, we think it impossible that he could have found 
collaborators among his scholars. The only pupil we can positively 
assign to him at this date was Gerard Dou, who never practised 
engraving. As to Willem de Poorter, his apprenticeship to Rembrandt 
has never been established. He certainly made copies of the master's 
works, ^ and, like many others, was greatly influenced by him, as we 
see in his pictures. But there is nothing to prove that De Poorter 
ever received direct instruction from Rembrandt, and the assumption 
is in no wise borne out by the little we know of his life. A native 
of Haarlem, Willem de Poorter was not only himself a member of 
the Guild of St. Luke in 1635, but had a pupil, Pieter Castelein, 
whose name he also caused to be inscribed on the list." Besides 
which, De Poorter was no engraver, and the two etchings formerly 
ascribed to him on the streno^th of their sio^nature, P. D. W., have 
been restored to P. de Witt by general consent. The only other 
names that can be admitted in this connection among Rembrandt's 

1 Notably one from the Presentation in the Temple of the Mauritshuis. This copy 
bears the date 1631, and is in the Dresden Museum. 

^ Van der Wilhgen, Les Artistes de Haarlem, p. 245. 1870. 



REMBRANDT S ASSISTANTS 151 

intimates at Leyden are those of J. Lievens and J. van Vliet, and 
we know that neither was his pupil. 

As regards his sojourn at Amsterdam, however, we have the 
testimony of Joachim Sandrart, his contemporary, who thus alludes 
to his industry and his gains : "His house at Amsterdam was 
frequented by numerous pupils of good family, each of whom paid 
him as much as a hundred florins yearly, exclusive of his profits from 
their pictures and engravings, which, in addition to his personal gains, 
brought him in some 2,000 to 2,500 florins," Such evidence is 
convincing; but as Sandrart gives neither dates nor names, it is 
necessary to inquire to what period of the master's career he here 
refers. Houbraken, who quotes Sandrart's text on this point, remarks 
that Sandrart was likely to be well informed, as he was personally 
known to Rembrandt. Now it was from 1637 to 1641 that Sandrart 
lived in Amsterdam and collected the precious information contained 
in the supplement to his reminiscences, the first edition of which 
was not published till some time afterwards.^ The period with 
which Sandrart deals was therefore the time when he was in personal 
communication with Rembrandt, some years later than that with 
which we are now concerned, and a question of dates is involved, 
which has been somewhat laxly treated hitherto. Among the pupils 
mentioned by Mr. Seymour Haden as possible collaborators of the 
master on his arrival at Amsterdam is Govert Flinck. Flinck was 
certainly one of the first of his pupils, but he never engraved. 
Ferdinand Bol, another of Rembrandt's earliest scholars, no doubt 
became his assistant in due course, but when he entered the studio 
(in 1632 at the earliest) he was barely sixteen,^ and can scarcely 
have given much help to his master till some years later. Philips 
de Koninck was not twelve years old in 1632, and Gerbrandt van 
den Eeckhout was only ten. Lievens, though in no sense a pupil 
of Rembrandt's, was on such terms of friendship with him, that he 
might very possibly have been his collaborator. But, as we have 
already shown, Lievens had left Holland. Mr. Seymour Haden 
has disputed this fact. He declares that there are no traces of 
Lievens' sojourn in England, nor of any works there executed 
by him, though Houbraken, speaking of his departure for Great 
Britain in 1631, adds explicitly that "he spent three years 
there, and painted portraits of the King, the Queen, and the Prince 
of Wales." There exists further an engraving by L. Vorsterman 
after a portrait by Lievens, of Nicholas Laniere. director of music 

^ The first edition, which \v;is pubhshcd in German, appeared in 1675, under the title 
of Academin jwi'i/issinue artis pictoriie (Nuremberg). After his departure from Amsterdam, 
the information touching Dutch artists collected by Sandrart was of a vague and desultory 
description. In many instances he did not know what had become of the i)ainters of 
whom he was writing, nor whether they were living or dead. 

2 The year 16 10 was supposed to be the date of his birth until quite recently, when 
Mr. Veth, in the course of his successful researches among the archives of Dort, discovered 
that he was really born in 16 16. Oud-Holland, 18S8, p. 68. 



REMBRANDT 



at the English Court. In an inscription on this plate, composed 
by Lievens, the painter extols the cultivated taste and the talents 
of Charles I.'s favourite, and speaks of Laniere as his " Maecenas." 
Mr. Seymour Haden might have found further proof among Lievens' 




THE ANGEL APPEARING TO THE SHEPHERDS. 
1634 (B. 44). 



own etchings. A remarkable plate (B. 59), very delicately etched 
from another of his own portraits, represents Jacob Gouter, lute- 
player of the Chapel Royal, to whom the artist " dedicates this 
souvenir of his constant friendship." Houbraken's very precise state- 
ment, supported as it is by these two works, cannot be questioned, 
and as this finally disposes of Lievens' claims, Joris van Vliet 



"THE RESURRECTION OF LAZARUS 



153 



remains the only possible collaborator. A careful examination 
of the three large plates which gave rise to this discussion will show, 
that in two at least Van Vliet was probably Rembrandt's assistant. 
The first of the three, the Resurrection of Lazarus, we not 




ELCE HOMO. 

1636 (B. 77)- 



only believe to be the work of Rembrandt, but hold also that it 
was entirely executed by his hand. The monogram with the 
affix: van Ryn, which forms the signature, seems to us to be 
alike a confirmation of its authenticity, and an indication of the 
period to which it belongs, for this monogram was mainly 



154 



AEMBRANDT 



used by the master about 1632. The composition and execution 
strongly support this hypothesis. The attitude of the Saviour 
is undoubtedly somewhat theatrical, and, as Charles Blanc remarks, 
the master seems to suggest that the miracle was the result 
ot" some " sublime incantation." But such a conception agrees 
perfectly with his idea of the Christ at this period, and the air of 
power and authority with which he has endued Him characterises 
the various other prints above described. We cannot therefore agree 
with Mr. Seymour Haden that Rembrandt probably borrowed the 
idea of his composition from two pictures of the Resiwrectio^i of 
Lazarus by J. de Wet, one of which is now at the Hermitage, the 
other in the Darmstadt Museum, the latter dated 1633. These 
pictures, which we know, differ essentially from Rembrandt's work, 
and are in fact considerably later in date. It was, indeed, unlikely that 
Rembrandt should have been indebted to De Wet for his concep- 
tion. The subject was one which had long attracted him. Even 
in the Leyden days it had engaged both himself and his fellow- 
students. Van Vliet had treated it with his usual coarseness in one 
of his first plates (B. 4), and Lievens used it both for a picture, 
recently in Mr. W^illett's collection at Brighton, and for one of his 
best engravings (B. 3). As to Rembrandt, he had twice attempted 
the rendering of this, an episode so well suited to his powers, before 
the production of the large plate : once in a pen-drawing now in the 
Boymans Museum, and again in an early picture, a small panel painted 
about 1628, and lately acquired by M. Sedelmeyer. In the latter the 
Saviour stands over the grave, one arm outstretched ; at his feet Lazarus 
struggles to rise, in an awkward but expressive attitude. In the print, 
Rembrandt introduces many details of this composition — several of 
the bystanders, and accessories, such as the quiver, the turban, and 
the Eastern sword, which then formed part of his little collection 
of "properties." ^ But he has remodelled it very successfully, treating 
it with greater breadth and simplicity. We note how^ever the same 
exaggerated pantomime among the spectators, the somewhat forced 
gestures of astonishment and enthusiasm, we have already pointed 
out in some of the early works, notably the Presentation in the 
Temple of 1628, in the Weber collection at Hamburg. But we look 
in vain for those conflicting evidences which have led authorities 
such as Mr. Seymour Haden and Mr. Middleton-Wake to discover, 
the first the hand of Bol and of Lievens, the second that of Van Vliet, 
directed by the master. In our opinion Rembrandt is the sole 
author of the plate, and he alone could have conceived and so 
eloquently expressed the stupendous miracle, its effects upon the 
various bystanders, and, above all, the figure of Lazarus, in whose 
features we note at once exhaustion, suffering, the horror of that 
death from which he has just been snatched, and the returning life 
which gradually quickens his enfeebled limbs. Before this creation, 

1 These accessories also appear in De Wet's picture in the Hermitage, and in Lievens' 
plate. 



THE ETCHING OF "THE DESCENT FROM THE CROSS" 155 

one of the most striking produced by the artist, in spite of certain 
blemishes, we understand and share the admiration so warmly 
expressed by Alfred Tonnelle : " The omnipotent gesture of the 
Saviour, whose hgure is brilliantly illuminated, is sublime, and every- 
thing tends to heighten the general effect ; the radiant, unearthly 
light striking down into the tomb ; the pallid corpse rising slowly, in 
amazement at the splendour that has penetrated his cerements ; the 
gestures of the bystanders, who draw back, dazzled by the blaze of 
glory, or press forward in transports of delight as the dead man moves. 
Never was the divine work of resurrection so majestically rendered ! " ^ 

We have mentioned the Descent from the Cross painted for the 
Stathotider in 1633. Rembrandt was evidently pleased with the 
composition, for he reproduced it almost immediately in a large 
etching, very elaborately and delicately executed, which he also dated 
1633, signing it with his name, spelt without the d, as we find it 
on several works of this period. Unhappily, the ground was so 
imperfectly prepared, that the work suffered greatly in the process 
of biting, and was even completely destroyed in parts. Only three 
impressions were taken ; the time and trouble bestowed on the plate 
had proved to be labour in vain, and Rembrandt, who was so fully 
occupied with other undertakings, shrank from a repetition of the 
task. But though he himself abandoned the enterprise, it is very 
conceivable that he should have commissioned another to carry it 
out under his direction, hoping to derive some profit from the plate. 
The originality of the conception, and the author's reputation, ensured 
it a favourable market. Saskia's cousin, Hendrick van Uylenborch, 
undertook the publication of this second print, the dimensions of 
which differed but little from those of the first. It was inscribed 
with the publisher's name, and with that of Rembrandt, this time 
correctly spelt, and followed by the words cum priviL, in assertion 
of the rights he had reserved to himself in the undertaking. The 
most cursory comparison of this copy with the original impression in 
the Bibliotheqtie N^ationale will suffice to show the notable differences 
between the two. Where, on the one hand, all is ease and freedom, 
we find on the other the stiffness, monotony, and constraint of imitation. 
The violent contrasts of blacks and whites and a certain coarseness 
of touch further betray the hand of Van \^liet, for we agree with 
Mr. Middleton-Wake, that the execution of the lalcrjjlate may almost 
certainly be ascribed to him. Van Vliet seems to have settled in 
Amsterdam at about the same date as Rembrandt, and ihr intimate 
relations existing between them for many years past naturally marked 
him out for the master's assistant. The choice of Van Vliet as his 
interpreter was one which Rembrandt found, on th(; whoK-, little 
cause to regret, thanks, no doubt, to his own vigilant surveillance. 
Notwithstanding the gulf that divides the two. Van Vliet's plate is 
one of his best, and after a few retouches, Rembraiult tlvjught it 
not unworthy of his own signature. 

^ Mixed TonwtWQ, Fragments sur I' Art d ia J 7iiloiOj)/iie, \i. 177. Taiis, 1S.60. 



156 



REMBRANDT 



The master had some grounds for hesitation, however, when he 
placed his name beneath an Ecce Homo (B. jy) produced a Httle 
later. Here it might have been prudent to claim only the honours 
of conception. A grisaille belonging to Lady Eastlake, in which 
the composition is reversed, formally attests Rembrandt's authorship. 
It is of great interest, having evidently been drawn by the master 
for the guidance of his collaborator. Some portions, such as the 
head of Christ, and the main group, are very carefully elaborated, 
while others are treated in a most summary manner ; the features 
of persons in the confused crowd that gathers in the deep shadows 
of the middle distance are not even suggested. But the general 

arrangement, the distribu- 
tion of the light, the style 
of the architecture, and 
the surging, tumultuous 
crowd, agitated by pas- 
sions so diverse, are such 
as Rembrandt alone could 
have conceived in dealinof 

o 

with the episode. On the 
other hand, the execution 
betrays the inferiority of 
the copyist even more 
unmistakably than in the 
Descent from the Cross. 
A trial proof pulled be- 
fore the completion of 
the plate reveals his al- 
most mechanical methods. 
Working; from the two 
extremities of the copper 
towards the middle, he 
has drawn the shadows 
cast by various objects 
before depicting the ob- 
jects themselves. Another proof, in the second state, belonging 
to the British Museum, shows corrections made with broad sweep- 
ing strokes of the brush to enrich the tonality of the print in 
certain places, and approximate its values and effects more closely 
to those of the grisaille. These corrections are indubitably by the 
master's hand. It is even possible that he may have retouched 
the plate here and there, as, for instance, in several figures of the 
central group and the foreground. But the execution as a whole 
is quite unworthy of Rembrandt, as Mr. Seymour Haden and Mr. 
Middleton-Wake have agreed. It is indeed unworthy even of Lievens, 
to whom the former critic is disposed to attribute it. We think with 
Mr. Middlcton-Wakc that the coarse drawing, the ugly types, the 
clumsy, heavy handling, all reveal the touch of Van Vlict, and are 




BUST PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG MAN. 

By Lievens (D. 26). 



RELATIONS WITH HIS PUPILS 



157 



instinct with tliat vulgarity which marks his other engravings 
of this period. Such a production probably convinced Rembrandt 
that it would be well to rely no further on such an interpreter, and 
we believe this to have been the last plate on which he employed 
Van Vliet/ He was about to find disciples, Bol, for instance, who 
proved more docile as interpreters, and whose more refined and subde 
intellects better fitted them to grasp and to translate his ideas. 

But even at the period when he was surrounded by a numerous 
band of efficient scholars, 
Rembrandt neveradmitted 
them to any very extensive [ 
participation in his works. 
The peculiar quality of his 
genius was not such as to 
gain much by collabora- 
tion. He had none of the 
practical talent which en- 
abled Rubens to profit 
openly by the labours of 
a trained body of assist- 
ants, each prepared for his 
special task, in conjunction 
with whom he found it 
possible to undertake such 
vast enterprises as the 
Medicis series, the great 
canvases of Antwerp 
Cathedral, and of the 
Jesuits' Church, and the 
Whitehall decorations. 
Rembrandt's art, always 
intensely individual and 
somewhat mysterious, lent 
itself ill to the interven- 
tion of others. As Dr. 
Bode has justly remarked, 
he was incapable of utilis- 
ing the work of his pupils. 

In a copy from one of his own pictures, Abraham's Sacrifice, which he 
retouched, we find him sweeping away all his disciple's work by a 
few broad strokes of the brush. It is not surprising, therefore, that 
Rubens rarely put his name to a picture, while Rembrandt almost 
invariably signed his. It was his habit to vary the form of his 
signature on works not entirely by his own hand, as if declining to 
accept the full responsibility for them. Hence the legends cum 
i>rivileg. or Rembrandt inventor already noted on several etchings ; 

^ Wc learn from the inventory of 1656 that the master had a cupboard in his studio 
full of Van Vliel's engravings from his designs, pictures, or etchings. 




THE MAN IN A MEZETIN CAP. 

About 1635 (B. 289). 



158 REMBRANDT 

also the more enigmatical inscription on three plates, as to which 
the most contradictory solutions have been proposed. We refer to 
the three Oriental Heads dated 1635 (B. 2S6, 287, and 2S8). On 
these is inscribed beside the name Rembrandt, a word in very 
minute characters which was long read as Venetiis, and adduced in 
support of the tradition that Rembrandt visited Venice in 1635. 
M. Charles Blanc, protesting against this groundless hypothesis, made 
a fresh attempt to decipher the word, and proposed to read it Renetns 
(of the Rhine), the Latin form of van Ryu, a solution which, though 
no nearer the truth, had at least more appearance of probability. 
The word, as V^osmaer was the first to discover, is really the Dutch 
participle gerehickerdt (retouched), and this pronouncement gives the 
key to another difficulty in connection with the plates, namely, that all 
three are also to be found among Lievens' etchings (B. 18, 20, 21) — 
the first reversed, the second in duplicate right and left, and the 
third in facsimile. M. Dutuit makes the very plausible suggestion 
that Lievens' plates were the originals, that Rembrandt gave them 
to his pupils to copy, and corrected their replicas. His signature 
would in this case merely assert that the plates have been retouched 
by him. The scratches in the background show that he made use 
of a sheet of copper on which another drawing had been begun ; 
he can therefore have attached no great importance to them. M. 
Dutuit anticipates the only objection to this explanation, namely, 
that Rembrandt and Lievens were no longer in close communica- 
tion as formerly, Lievens having taken up his abode in Antwerp 
after his return from England. His sojourn at Antwerp lasted from 
1635 to 1640. But he may possibly have visited Amsterdam, in 
which city he afterwards settled ; or he may simply have sent the 
plates to his old friend. A detail which seems to support M. 
Dutuit's conjecture is, that the facial type in two of the plates is that 
of Rembrandt's father, a fact which would give them a peculiar 
interest for the master. Nor w^ere these the only plates exchanged 
by the two artists. There is a fourth which appears among the 
works of each. This is the charming Man in a Mezetin Cap (B. 289) 
which Rembrandt probably etched in 1635. In Lievens' version 
(B. 26) the face is beardless, but the composition is reversed ; and the 
attitude, the costume, the headdress, and the upper part of the face 
are identical, while as regards the execution there is little to choose in 
point of skill. Here again Rembrandt has merely initialed the copy, 
in which he has sacrificed strict fidelity to picturesqueness of detail, 
adding the beard, and some stray locks of hair, indicated by a few 
skilful touches. 

The two friends never lost sight of one another. They were no 
doubt pleased to renew their former intimacy, when Lievens renounced 
his wandering life, and settled at Amsterdam shortly after 1643. 
Rembrandt, we know, had a sincere admiration for his compatriot's 
talent, as the inventory of 1656 sufficiently proves. It records his 
possession of a book of prints by Lievens, and no less than nine 




^Ihralianf s Sacrifice {i(^3S)- 

(hermitage museum.) 



"ABRAHAM'S SACRIFICE" 159 

pictures, among them a Resicrrecliou of Lazarus ^ and an Abrahaui s 
Sacrijicc. The latter, which was eulogised by Philip Angel in his 
Praise of Painting so early as 1632, represents the patriarch clasping 
Isaac tenderly in his arms, and looking gratefully upwards to the Lord 
who has preserved his son. 

Abraham s Sacrifice was one of the Biblical episodes most affected 
by the Italianiscrs. But the moment they usually chose was not that 
treated by Lievens. Their theme was more often the Angel staying 
the hand of the patriarch. This was the point in the drama which also 
appealed to Rembrandt, not only as the most impressive, but as 
lending itself most readily to those effects of chiaroscuro which had 
such fascination for him. The life-size picture in the Hermitage, 
inspired by this episode and painted in 1635, is among his most 
important works. The composition is extremely striking. In 
the foreground, Isaac is stretched almost naked at his father's feet. 
The patriarch, unable to bear the look of his pleading eyes, and 
anxious to spare him the sight of the blade, covers the youth's face 
with one broad hand, while from the other the knife falls at the sudden 
intervention of the heavenly messenger. Vosmaer, who knew the 
picture only from drawings and engravings, doubted its authenticity. 
But the transparent softness of the half-tones on the angel's face and 
on the lad's bare legs, the skilful modelling of the naked body, the 
building up of the high lights, and the delicate flexibility with which 
they follow the play of the surfaces, the high-toned harmony of the 
draperies, the fresh, cool tints of which — pale greens, pearly grays, 
subdued blues and yellows — recall those of the Jcivish Bride of 1634 
hanging close by — are all characteristic notes of this period. We may 
further mark the scrupulous study of nature evinced in details such 
as the angel's wings, which the master has painted from the tawny 
plumage of some bird of prey. Carefully as these details are rendered, 
however, they are no mere servile reproductions. In his interpreta- 
tions of nature, Rembrandt keeps the exigencies of his own conception 
steadily in view. His progress is very marked in this respect. It was 
in his own rich imagination that he composed the scene, and brought 
its most striking aspects into prominence, conceived the bold cast of 
the angel's head, and the expression of uncertainty on the patriarch's 
venerable face, combined in graduated harmonies the deep azure of the 
sky, the greenish blue of the horizon, and the sustained tones of the 
rock, against which the body of the youthful victim stands out in 
pathetic relief. 

The immediate success of this work was not surprising. So 
greatly was it admired that a replica, now in the iNIunich Pinacothek 
{No. 332 in the Catalogue), was executed by a pupil under Rembrandt's 
directions the following yoar. It is of the same size as the original, 
and affords fresh evidence of the scrui)les felt by Rembrandt with 
regard to the circulation of such reproductions, even when worked over 
by himself. He has again been careful to record below this copy that 
^ Probably the picture owned by Mr. Willctt of Brighton. 



[6o 



REMBRANDT 



he had only re-touched and slightly modified his pupil's work. The 
inscription on the canvas runs as follows : 



KL.MBRANDTS INSCKIPTloN 



These replicas are not of frequent occurrence in his ceicvi'e. We have 
already noted those of the Entombiiient and the Descent from the 
Cross. In the inventory of 1656 a few such canvases are enumerated ; 
among them are a Good Saviaritan, a Flagellation, and a sketch of 
the Crucifixion. Besides these there are a certain number of still-life 
studies, of the kind known as Vanitas, in which the master's corrections 
are visible, but which he apparently never tried to sell. While 
admitting the occasional collaboration of his pupils, we think it 
necessary to show that it was less important than has been supposed, 
especially at this period. W^e agree with Dr. Bode that modern 
criticism has been inclined to overshoot the mark in dealing with this 
question. 




A RAGGED I'EASANT. 

About 163s (B. 172). 




Port rail of Roiihraiidl {/Oj/)- 

( r.l KM IN Ml ~1 > M ) 




PKN DRAWING, WASHED WITH IKK. 

(Berlin Print Room.) 



CHAPTER XI 



DOMESTIC LIFE— SKETCHES AND ETCHINOS MADE i;V REMBRANDT FROM SASKIA AND 
HIMSELF — PORTRAITS AND PICTURES FROM 1635 TO 164O — ' GANYMEDE,' AND REM- 
BRANDT'S MYTHOLOGICAL COMPOSITIONS —THE ' DANAE ' IN THE HERMITAGE — 
' SUSANNA AT THE BATH ' AND THE ' MARRIAGE OF SAMSON ' — STUDIES OF STILL- 
LIFE— THE BOOK OF TORIT — ETCHINGS OF THIS PERIOD — THE 'DEATH OF THE 
VIRGIN.' 




D 



URING the summer of 1635, Saskia 
visited her relations in Friesland, and 
on July 12 she was present at the 
baptism of a child of Iliskia's. It is not 
improbable that Rembrandt accompanied her. 
He loved the country, and he would naturally 
have taken pleasure in revisiting the scenes 
among which they had been united the year 
before. The visit, however, must have been 
a brief one, for Saskia was herself about to 
l>ecome a mother. Her first child was a 
boy, who was ba|)tized Rombcrtus, after 
his malcrn;d grandfather, in the Oude- 
Kerk of Amsterdam, December 15, 1635. 

Saskia's brother-in-law, Frans Copal, was the chosen godfather. 

But his journey to Amsterdam was prevented, probabl)- by the bad 

weather, and the Sylviuses were his proxies at the ceremony. Tlu; 

advent of his first-born must have filled Rembrandt's heart with 



DRAWJNG. WAStlKD Wl TH INPIAN INK 

(British Museum.) 



feelinofs hitherto unknown. 



He was able to watch the awakening of 

M 



i62 "REMBRANDT 

life in the little creature, and to study its movements in all their 
expressive helplessness. He did not fail to take advantage of the 
tiny model, and made innumerable drawings of its attitudes and 
gestures. Many sketches from nature which probably belong to this 
period, show the child in various aspects of its baby life. We see it 
pressing against its nurse's bosom, and feeding with gluttonous delight; 
or stiff and replete in its tight swaddling-clothes ; or kicking merrily 
before a blazing fire ; or sound asleep.^ 

The master had now a new attraction in the retired life he loved, 
and cared less than ever to leave his home. Seated side by side 
round the light at evening, he and his wife occupied themselves, the 
one in drawing or engraving, the other in needlework. The artist 
has recorded some such moment of deep and intimate bliss in a charm- 
ing print dated 1636 (B. 19). He was never weary of reproducing his 
beloved Saskia's features, and three other plates, the first dated 1636 
(B. 365), the second (B. 367) executed probably the same year, and the 
third (B. 368) in 1637, are covered with sketches, in each of which 
some variation of pose, costume, or illumination is introduced, the exact 
likeness to the model being nowhere very scrupulously observed. 
During the first year of their marriage, Saskia further inspired him 
in the execution of the more important plate known as the Great 
Jewish Bride (B. 340). It represents a young woman with masses of 
flowing hair, seated, and holding a roll of paper. The type, however, 
differs considerably from that of Saskia ; the mouth is large, the lips 
compressed, and the face more angular. But a sketch in the 
Stockholm Museum was evidently Rembrandt's rough draft for this 
composition. The figure is reversed, and the attitude, the hand grasp- 
ing the roll of paper, the pillar, and the portion of an arch in the back- 
ground, even the ample wrapper in which the young woman is draped, 
are exactly reproduced. In the etching, however, Rembrandt has 
thrown a fur-trimmed mantle over her shoulders, and has slightly 
exaggerated the w^ild expression of his strange creation, and the 
luxuriant masses of hair that fall about her face.^ Two years 
later, Saskia's dainty features reappear in an etching of 1638, known 
as the Little J civish Bride (B. 342). 

Rembrandt, in fact, treated Saskia as he had treated himself, and 
made her his model on every possible occasion. She occupies the most 
prominent place in his works of this period, and from 1636 to 1642 his 

1 The courtesy of Mr. G. Upmark, Director of the Stockhohn Museum, has enabled us 
to reproduce some of the drawings in the estabhshment. These, as we shall show later 
on, probably formed part of the collection made by the marine-painter, Van de Cappelle, 
which was afterwards acquired by Crozat, and finally by the Comte de Tessin, the 
Swedish ambassador in Paris. 

- With Mr. Middleton-Wake, we take the unsigned replica of this plate, catalogued by 
Bartsch as A Study for the Great Jewish Bride (No. 341), to be the work of a pupil in 
Rembrandt's studio. The authenticity of the original has been called in question by 
Mr. Kohler, author of a catalogue of works by Rembrandt exhibited at Boston 
in 1887. But in our opinion its genuineness is fully attested by the Stockholm 
sketch. 



I 




Siipposci^ J'oiirail of Sobicski { i6jj). 



(hermitage.) 



ETCHING INSPIRED BY SASKIA 163 

own portrait only appears three times, two of these portraits being 
etchings very freely treated. He continued to adopt the martial aspect 
he had affected in so many fancy studies, and figures in a military cos- 
tume in the plate known as Rembrandt in a cap luith a feather, dated 
1638 (B. 20), as also in the Remh'andt in a flat cap, probably of the 
same year (B. 26). But for the very characteristic cast of his features, it 
would be difficult to recognise him in this warlike gear. On the other 
hand, he has given us one of his most individual renderings of himself 
in the Renibrandt leaning on a stone sill (B. 21), dated 1639. The 
costume, though fanciful, is extremely simple : a velvet cloak with a 
straight collar, and a cap set jauntily on one side. The head, which is 
turned nearly full face to the spectator, has none of the commanding 
airs the painter sometimes assumed before his mirror. Encircled 
by its luxuriant hair, it impresses by virtue of its power, its intelligence, 
and its perfect self-possession. Here we have no weather-beaten 
soldier, but an artist, an observer, whose keen, questioning gaze 
fascinates us. This Rembrandt knows life, though adversity has not 
yet touched him. Strength and concentration of mind, no less than of 
vision, have emphasised that vertical furrow between the brows 
already noted, which deepened more and more with age. The work 
is of the most exquisite quality, the execution simple, yet masterly, 
at once reticent and subtle. It would be impossible to suggest either 
addition or suppression ; the full maturity both of man and artist is 
made manifest. Among all the master's renderings of himself, this 
has become the most popular, and public judgment has been well 
advised for once in adopting it as the most characteristic expression of 
Rembrandt's genius and personality. 

The painted portraits of this period are almost entirely confined 
to members of the artist's immediate circle. Among the few 
exceptions are two portraits of old women. The earlier, dated 1635, 
was in the possession of Mr. Lesser, the London dealer, in 1889. It 
represents an old lady of some seventy years, seated, and painted 
three-quarters length and life-size. She wears a dress of black damask 
with velvet epaulettes, a cap with small ear-pieces, and a white ruff 
and cuffs. The features are commonplace, but the face has a 
pleasant frankness, and the complexion is fresh and ruddy, very 
luminous in the high tones, and transparent in the shadows and their 
reflections. The other portrait, that of an old woman in a white cap, 
also dressed in black, belongs to M. Alphonse de Rothschild, and 
was painted about 1635 — 1636. The execution is careful and minute. 
The wrinkled face has preserved that sweetness which is the 
beauty of old age. The next in order are two portraits of young 
women. One, in Lord Ellesmcre's collection, painted about 1634 — 
1635, represents a fair-haired sitter with a somewhat faded complexion. 
She' wears a dark dress, relieved by a double row of lace. The face 
is refined and intelligent, but unhapi)ily, the picture is in very poor 
condition, and the shadows have probably darkened. The other 
portrait, which is known as the Jl'onian of Utrecht — it has been 

M 2 



164 



REMBRANDT 



for many years in the possession of the Weede van Dyckveld 
family of that city — is signed and dated 1639. The young lady 
stands almost facing the spectator, in a costume both elegant and 
simple: a black dress with loops and embroideries of dull gold, cuffs 
and epaulettes of white lace, and a flat collar edged with a double 
row of lace. She wears a necklace and large earrings of pearls, 
and holds a fan with ribbons in her hand. Her eyes beam 
with frank good-nature ; the large hands and the fresh colour bespeak 
health. The broad yet careful handling is that of the portrait of 
Martin Daey's wife, with greater freedom, but the colouring has been 
injured by an early restoration, and has lost its brilliance and harmony. 
The careful execution and the sobriety of the costumes in these 

portraits show them to 
have been commissioned 
by the sitters, while on 
the other hand we are 
inclined to consider the 
jjortrait of a young woman 
in the Cassel Gallery (No. 
216 in the Catalogue) as a 
study made at about the 
same time from some 
friend or relation of 
Saskia's, basing such a 
supposition on the ab- 
sence of any signature, 
and on the fanciful dress, 
one of the master's pro- 
perties, which he has him- 
self arranged on the 
sitter. The garb is both 
picturesque and original. 
A fur mantle is worn 
over a greenish dress, 
with a white chemisette cut low at the neck. A scarf with a deep 
fringe is drawn round the shoulders. The hair, neck, and ears are 
adorned with pearls, and the gloved left hand holds two pinks. The 
pale complexion and red lips, the long nose, thickening slightly to- 
wards the tip, the small eyes, and the reddish hair that waves about 
the face, make up a type of no particular beauty. But the wistful 
expression and a certain air of astonishment give that effect of 
strange actuality in which Rembrandt excelled. 

The male portraits of this period represent for the most part the 
painter's family friends. The Minister Swalmius of the Dudley 
collection, painted by the master in 1637, is a grave personage of 
severe aspect (probably some acquaintance of the Sylviuses), who 
pauses in his reading, and looks up at the spectator. The Bridgwater 
House portrait, painted in 1637, represents another minister, a 




I'E.N SKETCH. 

(S'.ockholm Print Room.) 




S/iiih for the '\/cwis/i Hridc^^ {J^\^^)- 



I 'en ;inil \\';i>h. 
(ai.dkktina.) 



PORTRAITS OF MEN 



165 



handsome, delicately-featured old man in a furred green robe, seated at 
a table. We cannot aofree with Dr. Bode in his identification of 
Rembrandt himself with the life-size full-length of a man, dated 1639, 
in the Cassel Museum (No. 217 in the Catalogue) which long passed 
for a portrait of Jan Six. The type has certainly nothing in common 
with that of the famous burgomaster, who was soon to become 
Rembrandt's friend. But neither can we discover an)- likeness to the 
artist, either in the shape of the face, the hair, or the expression. The 
sitter, who leans against a wall beside an engaged pedestal, surmounted 
by an antique bust, is fashionably dressed in a black velvet costume 
with ribbons, and a 







^-v:4^' "' 



black hat. He has the 
appearance of some 
wealthy citizen of artistic 
tastes, sedate and self- 
satisfied. The some- 
what vulgar head, the 
expressionless eyes, the 
careful and minute exe- 
cution of the dress — 
the gradations of the 
blacks are admirable 
in their vigour and 
variety — all proclaim 
this work one of the 
few portraits painted by 
Rembrandt on commis- 
sion at this period. On 
no occasion, as far as 
we know, did the master 
represent himself thus, 
at full-length, in the 
conventional costume ot 
the day, renouncing 
all those problems of 
chiaroscuro and effects 
of costume which he 

delighted to introduce into his own ])Mrtraits. Nor was he at all 
likely to have made such a departure at this point ot his career. He 
was rejoicing in his indei)c-nd('nce, and gladly throwing oft those 
restraints to which he had unwillingly submittt-d when, as a new comer 
in Amsterdam, he had his reputation to make anil his pockets to line. 
He was now famous ; Saskia's dowry and his own earnings had made 
him independent. Jealous of his lil)erty, he was not often persuaded 
to meet the demands of the public. When he posed before his 
mirror he gave free rein to his fancy, and had no thought beyond his 
own satisfaction or instruction. This is sufficiently proved by the 
many studies of himself painted at this period, which we must be 







STUDY OK SASKIA, ANU tlfHEK HEADS 

1636 (B. 365). 



i66 REMBRANDT 

content merely to enumerate. The first is a picture in the Cassel 
Museum (No. 215 in the Catalogue) signed and dated 1634. His 
shoulders are slightly drawn up towards his ears. He is wrapped in a 
reddish mantle, and wears a curiously shaped plumed helmet of 
polished steel, which casts a transparent shadow over his ruddy face. 
Two bust portraits in the Wallace collection, signed, but not dated, 
must have been painted from about 1633 to 1635. The execution of the 
first is broad yet delicate ; the head is turned to the right ; the costume 
is a velvet cape with fur-trimmed collar. In the second, a hastier and 
more sketchy study, the master faces the spectator ; on his head is a 
brown cap, and round his neck the familiar steel gorget and a gold 
chain, A charming portrait of 1634, one of Rembrandt's most attractive 
renderings of his own personality, is in the Berlin Museum. Another, 
of about the same date, is in the Hague Museum. Here the face is 
almost in profile. The master wears a black velvet cap with a van- 
dyked brim. The upper part of the face is in shadow ; the lips are 
parted ; the curled moustache and resolute expression give a martial 
air to the head. A full-face study in the Pitti Palace, painted in the 
same year, or perhaps in 1635, shows the artist in a large black cap ; a 
cloak is thrown over the steel gorget and gold chain of earlier portraits. 
The fine condition of the beautiful and important picture of 1635, in 
the Liechtenstein Gallery, gives full effect to the delicacy of the 
chiaroscuro. The Louvre owns a portrait signed and dated 1637. 
The expression of the face is calm and gentle. On the head is a black 
velvet cap ; there are pearls in the ears, and round the shoulders 
an embroidered mantle, fastened across the breast with a clasp. 
Finally, we have the National Gallery portrait of 1640, in which the 
artist wears a broad cap, with vandyked brim, a gold-embroidered gray 
doublet with a close-fitting collar, and an overdress of brown, 
striped with yellow. The fresh, ruddy face looks out from the 
canvas with an alert and somewhat ironical expression. The 
handling is very elaborate, and slightly cold in effect. 

In most of these portraits, Rembrandt shows his partiality 
for the military disguises he had affected in his earlier studies 
of himself. They were, in fact, exercises, treated with more 
or less of freedom, in which he paid small attention to the actual 
likeness. Allowing therefore for certain sli^dit differences which may 
perhaps be explained by the dimensions — the figure is rather larger 
than life — we think we can detect the master himself in the martial 
accoutrements of the Stmidard-Bearer, a high-toned, transparent 
picture in M. Edouard de Rothschild's collection. It bears 
Rembrandt's signature, and the first three figures (163), of a date, 
which, judging from the execution, we take to have been 1636. In 
the somewhat coarse features of the veteran, his thick nose, sturdy 
neck, and unruly locks, we trace the master's own type, modified and 
enlarged to suit the character affected. Thus disguised, a high cap 
throwing its shadow over his rubicund face, a sword by his side, one 
hand on his hip, the other grasping a standard, the model remains 




Sketch of the " (jaiiyiiicdc 

liy all imilalnr of Rciiilnamll. 
(dm-.sdin M»;sKrM.) 



STUDIES OF OLD MEN 167 

a peaceful citizen, who looks more like a frequenter of taverns than a 
hero. He may perhaps have borne his banner in a parade, but 
fortunately for him, he has never been called upon to defend it. 
We profess no less scepticism as to the nationality of the so-called 
Sobicski in the Hermitage, dated 1637. The apparent age of the 
model at this date disposes of the identification with Sobieski, which 
seems to have been one of those fanciful conjectures so freely hazarded 
at the close of the last and the beginning of the present century. 
Thus, every old woman painted by Rembrandt and his pupils was 
dubbed Rembrandt' s Mother, while other portraits received the no 
less apocryphal names of Rembrandt^ s Gilder, Raiibrandf s Cook, etc. 
The master's portrait of himself in the Pitti Palace is christened 
Count de Horn on an engraved reproduction by Golgano Cipriani ; 
the portrait of Rembrandt's father was engraved by R. Savery under 
the startling title of Mahomet, and on an old English print of the 
Standard- Beai^er is inscribed the even more curious legend William 
Tell. The vigorous but rather vulgar type of the so-called Sobieski 
is not unlike that of the Standard- Bearer. He has the same massive 
head and neck, the same blunt nose, the same fulness of flesh, the 
same expression in the eyes, the same high colour. He holds a 
gold-headed stick in his hand, and the main difference is in the attitude 
and costume. But the fantastic high cap, the fur tippet, the red robe, 
and the curiously wrought pendant that hangs from the gold chain on 
his breast suggest a masquerade, and we have an instinctive feeling 
that the wearer of this suspicious disguise is a sham Pole. A closer 
examination convinces us that we have seen Rembrandt himself 
wearing the heavy gold chain, the pearl earrings, and the ornament 
in the cap, and finally, we are led to conclude with M. INIantz that 
Rembrandt himself was the original of this "fancy Muscovite." 
Admitting a certain puerility in the disguise, we may justly call atten- 
tion to the breadth of treatment in this powerful portrait, and to the 
vigour of chiaroscuro and richness of colour so admirably suggestive 
of the character and expression depicted. 

In addition to portraits more or less in the nature of studies, 
such as the above, a large number of studies in the stricter sense of 
the term belong to this period. We may instance the boldly 
painted head of 1635, formerly in the San Donato collection, now 
in the possession of Mr. L, Goldschmidt. The model was probably 
some workman. The face is of a plebeian type, the hair dishevelled, 
the dress poor and plain. Such studies were, however, generally 
made from models the master picked up among the Jewish population 
of Amsterdam. In the streets close at hand, he was able to choose 
at will among those types of old men with hooked noses and strongly 
marked features he noted for use in future compositions. They also 
gave him opportunities for the display of rich draperies and military 
accoutrements. Some such accessory added t(^ a study, transformed 
the model into a hero of sacred history. Labelled in somewhat 
random fashion with Scriptural names, the works were more readily 



1 68 REMBRANDT 

disposed of, and such a designation often enhanced the success of 
a brilhantly executed study. We may note as typical examples 
the studies of heads belonging- to the Duke of Bedford (Woburn 
Abbey), Lord Derby, Sir Philip Miles, and Count Nostitz of Prague ; 
also an old man (signed, and dated 1633) in the Munich Pinacothek, 
and another in the Belvedere at Vienna, who no doubt gained the 
title SL Paid from the sword hanging on the wall beside him/ 
But the most famous of these studies is the Rabbi at Chatsworth, dated 
1635, which represents an old man with massive features, painted almost 
full face. He wears a high turban and a rich mantle, fastened by a 
large metal clasp, and sits before a table, on which are some books, 
his hands upon his breast. Behind him, in the background of the 
oratory, there is a glimpse of a sanctuary with a column round 
which is coiled a serpent. The high-toned, transparent harmony 
formed by the cool, delicate tints and somewhat cold shadows of 
this canvas recalls the Jewish Bride of the preceding year in 
the Hermitage. Such pictures, under titles more or less appro- 
priate, seem to have been extremely popular in their day, for 
old copies painted by Rembrandt's pupils or imitators, notably by 
Salomon Koninck, are to be found in the Museums of Dresden 
(No. 1590 in the Catalogue), Berlin (No. 821), Turin (No. 450), in 
the Liechtenstein Gallery, and in many other collections. 

Rembrandt had now more time at his disposal. His marriage, 
and the proceeds of his portraits ensured him a certain income, and he 
felt himself free to pursue these methods of study. Many of the types 
he collected were utilised at this period in compositions inspired, as usual, 
by the sacred writings. Among such compositions is a small picture in 
the Hermitage, dated 1634, representing The Incredulity of St. Thomas. 
The Saviour, surrounded by the apostles and holy women, displays 
His wounds, with a gesture of authority, to which the Saint responds 
with devout amazement. The scene is well arranged, and the colour 
is not without brilliance. But the handling is timid, awkward, and 
wanting in breadth, while the cold colour, blue or greenish in tone 
to which the master sometimes had recourse at this period, has none 
of the richness and distinction that mark many of his contemporary 
works. Neither is distinction the note of the Samson threatening his 
Father-in-law, in the Berlin Museum, a signed canvas, bearing a date 
the last figure of which (probably a 6) disappeared when the picture 
was relined. The subject was long a puzzle to students, and the 
fashion which formerly obtained of referring the episodes treated by 
Rembrandt to contemporary history favoured the suggestion that the 
theme was Duke Adolphus of Guelders, shaking his fist at his im- 
prisoned father-in-law. But, as Mr. Ed. Kolloft" was the first to point 
out, Rembrandt never attempted any incident in modern history,- and 

^ According to an old catalogue, it once bore a signature and the date 1636. Both 
are now illegible. 

2 Ranbrandt s Lebm und Werkc, in F. von Raumer's Historisclies T.ischenbuchy 
p. 40 1 et scq. 



"SAMSON THREATENING HIS FATHER-IN-LAW" 



169 



where it seems difficult to identify the subjects of his pictures, the fault 
generally lies in an imperfect search among those Scriptures which 
inspired nearly all his compositions, and which he translated with 
scrupulous precision. The type of Samson, his costume, and the crisp, 
bushy hair that falls round his massive head, closely resemble those of 
M.Edouard de Rothschild's Standard- B c arci^ oi xh^ same period, about 
1636. Rembrandt, as may be supposed, eagerly seized such an oppor- 
tunity for the display of gold embroidered stuffs and Oriental weapons. 
The giant, dressed and armed in Turkish fashion, shakes his clenched 
fist savagely at his father-in-law, a sharp-featured old man, prudently 
entrenched behind a 
heavily clamped door, 
who looks out through 
a half-open casement, his 
hand on the latch, be- 
yond the reach of his 
terrible son-in-law, but 
ready to decamp at a 
moment's notice. The 
action is not specially in- 
teresting, and the picture, 
which is in very poor 
condition, deals with 
none of those problems 
of illumination or expres- 
sion that abound in Rem- 
brandt's works. The 
touch is hard and dry, 
the drawing heav)-, and 
even faulty in places, as 
in Samson's fist. In spite 
of these defects, however. 
Napoleon I. greatly ad- 
mired the picture. It 
was part of the spoil he 
brought to Paris after 
his victories in 1806, 
and by his orders it was 

placed in his private room at Saint Cloud. There HIiichcr found 
it, when he established his head-quarters at the palace iri 18 15, and 
thence he restored it to his master, the; King of Prussia. 

Lord Derby's Belshazzars Feast, at Knowsley, probably dates 
from about the same period. Rembrandt was doubtless fascinated, 
not only by the decorative splendour proi)er to such a theme, but by 
the opportunities it afforded for contrasts of chiaroscuro. The master, 
as may be supposed, was fully alive to the effect to be won from the 
display of glittering plate on the table, and the luminous writing on the 
wall confronting the terror-stricken king. But the coarse handling 




SKETCH FOR THE JF.WISH IIKIDE. 

1634 (Stockholm Print Room). 



I70 



REMBRANDT 



gives an exaggerated appearance to the contrasts, and the awe of 
some among the company is expressed by mere grimace. All the 
defects of this work are intensified in a large canvas dated 1636, in the 
Schonborn collection at Vienna, Samson overcome by the Philistines} 
The scene is at once horrible and grotesque ; the painter seems to 
have revelled in the repulsive aspects of his subject, and its offensive- 
ness is enhanced by the lari^e scale of the work, the figures being 
nearly life-size. Betrayed by Delilah, who escapes from the fray, the 
shorn locks in her hand, Samson has been surprised and overcome by 
the Philistines. Clutching him by the throat, they fall upon him with 
spears and halberds ; he struggles fiercely, covered with blood, blinded 
and disfigured by a gaping wound. In spite of the shock produced by 
such an accumulation of horrors, we are impressed by the elements of 
wild grandeur and ferocity that characterise the scene. Here the 
master manifests analogies of temperament, not only with the Dutch 
writers of his day, but v/ith Shakespeare himself, who, as Dr. Bode has 
pointed out,^ does not shrink from the portrayal of kindred brutalities 
on the stage. In King Lear, to take an analogous example, we 
witness the blinding of Gloucester in all its atrocity of detail. 

Taste was clearly not one of Rembrandt's strong points, as is 
abundantly proved by his occasional treatment of mythological subjects. 
In the Rape of Ganymede he made choice of a peculiarly unfortunate 
theme. It was notoriously one from which classic art, as if recognising 
its difficulties, had almost wholly refrained down to the period of 
the decadence, when it had been utilised mainly as a decorative motive. 
Setting aside Leochares' conception, described by Pliny, and further 
known to us by the Vatican copy, representations of the episode were 
chiefly confined to medals, mirrors, vases or tapestries of the Alexan- 
drine period. The problem was, in fact, a sufficiently complicated one. 
By dint of great ingenuity the ancients had avoided the pitfalls prepared 
for them in Pliny's brief description,^ in adhering to which they 
had to suggest not only the rapid flight of the eagle, but the care 
with which he refrains from injuring the stolen child, as he bears 
him through the air. Rembrandt cared little for subtleties of this 
sort. The actual phenomenon engrossed his w^hole attention, and, 
faithful to his principles, his first thought was to reproduce the incident 
as it might have taken place. Nature has evidently been consulted 
both for the conception and details of the Dresden picture, which is 
signed, and dated 1635. The shape, the tawny plumage, and the 
flight of the bird were studied from a real eagle, either alive or stuffed, 
and a fat little Dutch boy of a vulgar type he happened to pick 
up, and who figures in several drawings, was his model for the 

^ From the dimensions of this canvas, an old copy of which is in the Cassel Museum 
(No. 230 in the Catalogue), it seems probable that it was the Samson offered to Huygens 
in Rembrandt's letters of January 12th and 27th, 1639, as an acknowledgment of the 
secretary's services in connection with the two last pictures painted for the StatJiouder. 

^ Siudien, p. 429. 

^ Leochares {fecit) agidlam sentaitiein quid rapiat Gatiyiiiede et cui ferat, parcejitcmqiie 
unguibus, vel per vesUin. 




^ 



~ z 



"-N 



MYTHOLOGICAL SUBJECTS 171 

favourite of Jupiter.^ The child, who has been surprised on top 
of a tree, lets fall the cherries he was gathering, and his face, by 
no means beautiful at its best, is distorted by pain as the eagle's claws 
enter his flesh. We need not dwell on the plump contours revealed by 
the disordered shirt, nor on the unspeakable fashion in which his terror 
is indicated. Noting these vulgarities of treatment, we might believe 
the work to be merely the broad jest of some northern Lucian 
making merry over Olympus, or a questionable anticipation of the 
caricatures in modern opera bouffe. But nothing was farther from 
Rembrandt's thoughts. Vosmaer, who expresses a somewhat ex- 
aggerated admiration for the modelling of the child's body, protests 
against the idea of a parody, and Rembrandt himself sets aside 
the notion by his preliminary drawing in the Dresden collection, in 
which he endeavours to characterise his subject, though with no ver)' 
striking success. His incapacity for the treatment of such themes 
is glaring. Rubens, who both by temperament and by a long course 
of training in Italy, was better fitted to cope with them, often failed, 
but his fiascoes have none of the grotesque assurance that distin- 
guishes those of the Dutch master. The naive impudence displayed 
by Rembrandt gives a measure of the gulf that divides Dutch from 
Italian, or even from Flemish art. Even when he attempted to follow 
tradition in subjects that make the utmost demands on knowledge and 
respect, the master only succeeded in proclaiming his irreverent fashion 
of conception and interpretation. 

He seems himself to have felt his limitations. His essays in this 
geni^e become more and more infrequent, and there is little cause for 
regret on this score in view of such examples as the Diana discovering 
the pregnancy of Callisto, a company of nymphs bathing in a fantastic 
landscape, with Act^eon in the background. The picture is signed and 
dated 1635, and is in the Prince of Salm's collection at Anhalt. On the 
other hand, the so-called Dande in the Hermitage, dated 1636,- shows 
that Rembrandt was now and then happily inspired by a mythological 
theme. Dr. Bode, however, believes the picture to represent an 
episode in the Book of Tobit, in which the master was greatly 
interested at this period. The subject remains obscure ; but Danae 
or Sara, the central figure is pre-eminently a study of the nude ; and 
though the type of the face differs in some points from that of Saskia, 
it is almost certain that she was the model. We have already 
explained the difficulties experienced by Dutch painters in procuring 
female models, and it must be confessed that those hitherto obtainable 
by Rembrandt had been far from seductive. It is not surprising, 
therefore, that with a beautiful young woman close at hand, willing 
to satisfy his every wish, he should have taken advantage of his oppor- 

1 A composition by Concggio, known to us from a drawing in tlio Weimar collection, 
bears a strong resemblance to Rembrandt's jjicture, save for the grace and elegance of 
the Italian master's Cianymede. 

2 The figure between the two sixes has disappeared. We give the date 1636 as that 
indicated by the execution. 



172 



REMBRANDT 



tunitics. From the point of view of conjui^al propriety, it might, no 
doubt, be desired that the^ husband had shown more reticence. But in 
matters connected with his art, Rembrandt had no such personal scruples, 
as is sufficiently proved by his allowing Bol to see, and even to copy 
this work.^ It is only fair to add that he kept the canvas in his own 
possession, for we believe this to be the work which figures in the 
inventory of 1656 as Diana or rather Danae, " Scyndc Diancie''' -Sin entry 
which confirms the present title of the picture. It had been relegated 
to a lumber-room in the master's studio. But of course Rembrandt 

must not be judged too 
severely on this point. If 
there were any serious 
need to defend him, we 
might quote the example 
of the great Italian mas- 
ters of the Renaissance, 
who availed themselves of 
the privileges accorded to 
art in all ages far more 
freely than he. Does it 
ever occur to us to inquire 
where Michelangelo, Gior- 
gione, Titian, and Cor- 
reggio found the models 
for their Venuses, Ledas, 
and Antiopes, the fair 
women who unblushingly 
reveal their superb nudity 
in the landscapes of the 
masters ? Rubens, the re- 
fined and courtly cavalier, 
painted his wife, Helena 
Fourment, in the Blen- 
heim Androjueda, now one 
of the gems of the Berlin 
Gallery, and in the beau- 
tiful picture at Vienna she 
is shown without even 
the thin disguise of a mythological title, preparing for the bath, her 
nudit)- but slightly veiled by the fur robe drawn round her body.'^ 

Rembrandt, then, as we see, might have pleaded the examples of 
his most illustrious predecessors. Loving nature and art as he did, 
he must have rejoiced more than any among them in the opportunities 
now ahorded him of carrying out the studies he had long desired to 

1 In a picture now in the Brunswick Museum, Tobias hroufiht by Rcii^uel to Sara 
(No. 46 in the Catalogue). 

2 Lii^g Rembrandt, Rubens kept tliis study in his studio, and in his will bequeatned 
it to Helena Fourment herself. 




KJKTRAIT OF REMBRANDT. 

Abnut 1634 (Hague Museum) 




The lUttcni {i6ji^). 

(UKESUEN GALLERY.) 



"THE DANAE" OF THE HERMITAGE 



'7: 



attempt, from a model so superior to the coarse, mis-shapen types he 
had hitherto encountered. The young woman, small and dainty of 
limb, lies on a low bed, raised from the floor by a step. The 
light falls from the left full on her delicate contours. She appears 
to see some one advancing towards her, whom she welcomes with a 
radiant look, a sm.ile on her rosy lips. Her right arm is raised and 
extended ; the other rests upon a pillow. A comb set with pearls 
fastens her golden brown hair, and on her arms are bracelets of 
gold and pearls. An old 
hag, with a bunch of keys 
in her hand, draws back 
the curtains of the bed, 
a bed of gilded wood, 
with massive supports, 
carved posts, and a figure 
of Cupid with outspread 
winofs in hicrh relief at 
the head.^ By the bed 
is a table with a cover 
richly embroidered in 
gold. The dull crimson 
of this cover, the greenish 
brown of the curtains, the 
greenish blues of the bed, 
and the touches of gold 
here and there, make up 
a subdued harmony that 
brings the strongly illu- 
minated carnations into 
admirable relief. The 
figure is not beyond re- 
proach, and there is a 
certain want of elegance 
in the plump contours ; 
but the brilliance of the 
general effect, the trans- 
parent warmth of the 
shadows, the delicacy of 
the modelling, the grada- 
tions of the chiaroscuro, and the freshness and grace of the youthful 
body, which seems to quiver with life and joy, all combine to make 
this work unique among the master's creations. 

Saskia's features are more clearly recognisable in two studies of 
Susanna at the Bath, both dated 1637. In the one belonging to Prince 

^ The Cupid, the old attendant, and the joyful expression of the young woman, are 
details that scarcely agree with the text, if the picture represents Sara, and this seems 
to confirm the traditional title Datide. The bed figures in several other works by 
Rembrandt, and was, no doubt, among the curiosities collected by him. "A little bed 
of gilded wood, designed by Verhulst,'' is mentioned in his inventory. 





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roKlKAIT OF A YOUNv; lilKl. 

About 1635 ^Casscl Museuir.). 



174 REMBRANDT 

Yoiissoupoff, the face and figure have a certain degree of elegance. 
The signature, however, we beHeve to be false, and even the execution 
would not be above suspicion, but for certain unmistakable traces 
of the primitive work, which has greatly deteriorated. The other 
study is in first-rate condition. It belongs to the Hague Museum, 
and bears the date 1637, together with the name Rejiibra^it (with- 
out the d), a form of the signature which we here note for 
the last time. A young woman of Saskia's type and features is 
represented almost naked. She has thrown off" her garments — a 
purple robe trimmed with gold, and a white chemisette with em- 
broidered sleeves — and is about to step into a bath, above which 
rise the branches of tall trees, and a palace, the walls of which 
stand out in relief against a dark sky. A rustling in the foliage 
startles her as she is about to cast aside the last of her draperies, 
and turning her rosy face in alarm towards the spectator, she 
modestly endeavours to hide her nakedness. Behind her, in a 
tangle of plants and foliage, two heads are slightly indicated, 
one with gleaming eyes, the other in a turban with a plume. 
The strong tones of the vegetation, the sky, and the building, 
emphasise the whiteness of the somewhat thick-set figure. The 
composition, and the gesture of Susanna, seem to have taken 
Rembrandt's fancy ; we shall find him reproducing the episode, with 
very slight modifications, in a later work. 

Saskia was his model for the chief figure in another Scriptural scene, 
the Samsons Marriage Feast in the Dresden Gallery, dated 1638. 
The banquet, which took place in a hall hung with splendid tapestries, 
and lasted seven days, according to the Bible narrative, seems to be 
drawing to its close. The guests, if we may judge by the licence of 
their attitudes, have hardly observed the strict sobriety proper to the 
East. They sit or lie on couches round the table, and divert themselves 
with small respect for the proprieties. A cavalier in the foreground, 
more enterprising than the rest, clasps his neighbour closely round the 
waist ; another of the ladies, to whom a gallant offers a cup of wine, 
proclaims by her gesture that further libations would be perilous. 
Bedecked like some heathen idol, loaded with necklaces and jew^els, 
a diadem on her head, her hands folded sanctimoniously across her 
breast, the daughter of the Philistines, who has Saskia's features, sits 
almost in the centre of the composition, a stolid spectator of the feast. 
Samson reclines by her side, but turns away as if no longer greatly 
interested in her. A garland of leaves rests on his shaggy hair, and 
his loose robe of green, embroidered with gold and precious stones, is 
open across his brawny chest. Illustrating his words by a somewhat 
vulgar gesture, he propounds one of his riddles to a group of musicians 
in fanciful Turkish dresses behind him. He looks like some herculean 
acrobat, chatting familiarly with his orchestra. It is difficult to under- 
stand what was the master's attraction in this uninteresting episode. 
Style, by which I mean the harmony between methods of expression 
and the subject expressed, was clearly out of the question here. But 




-o 



THE BITTERN 175 

if, setting aside the peculiarities of the composition, we examine 
its technical qualities, we shall find that the execution has become 
broader and freer. The play of light is more accurately defined ; 
it is concentrated on the principal group, and the objects in shadow, 
though less obtrusive, are more distinct, owing to the greater 
transparency of the low tones. Finally, though there is a want of 
dignity in the figures, the harmonious splendours of the East are 
skilfully suggested in their rich costumes, and in the picturesque 
display of costly stuff's — blues interwoven with silver, and reds em- 
broidered with gold — by which the predominant green tones are 
happily balanced. 

The chief interest of the work lies in the variety of its colour 
scheme. The tints, though subdued, are gayer than heretofore, 
and are no longer confined to the monotonous, and somewhat perfunc- 
tory russets of the master's early works. In many passages some 
dominant chord is struck which vibrates throughout an infinity of 
exquisitely modulated gradations. And whether sustained or 
vigorously frank in its modulations, this primary tone is never 
denaturalised. Subtle and flowing as it is, lending itself to every 
exigency of effect, to every accident of light, and every reflection 
from neighbouring objects, it never becomes ambiguous. Throughout 
it preserves its essential qualities. 

The Sportsman with a Biliern of 1639, also in the Dresden 
Gallery, is of great interest as showing the results of those studies 
from nature which deal more especially with colour, and as manifesting 
Rembrandt's conscientious earnestness in such investigations. The 
work is not what we might have expected — a rapid impression, such 
as those in which many of the master's confreres sought relaxation 
from more serious tasks. It proclaims a definite intention, and attacks 
a recognised problem. The sportsman, almost wholly in shadow, is 
partly hidden behind a bird he holds up by its legs. The light 
falls full on its carefully painted plumage, which under Rembrandt's 
brush yields a richness of effect truly surprising in view of the re- 
stricted colour-scheme. By means of tones closely allied and very 
simple — grays, pale yellows, yellows rather more intense, russets 
streaked or flecked with browns, the happy distribution of which he 
utilises with great skill — the master produces a most original har- 
mony, at once reticent and sonorous. Fine as the result un- 
questionably is, we believe the work to have been primarily an 
instructive exercise to which Rembrandt looked for ulterior advan- 
tages. Later we shall find him profiting by the experience thus 
acquired, and making use of the scale of colour he had here learnt 
to handle, as an expressive accompaniment to the more animated and 
frankly resonant notes contained in the carnations of his portraits, and 
of the figures in his compositions. When he brought some strongly 
illuminated head into brilliant relief against tawny furs or dark velvets, 
the painter w^as in fact utilising studies where nature had supplied 
the raw material his rare genius turned to such intelligent account. 



176 



REMBRANDT 



Though the picture in the Dresden Gallery seemed to us 
convincing evidence of the methods above suggested, we should per- 
haps have hesitated to pronounce what might possibly have been a 
mere fortuitous essay, one in a deliberate series of experimental studies. 
But there is ample proof that Rembrandt made such exercises a 
frequent practice. Several works of this class figure in his inventory, 
notably a Fish, a Hare, a Bittern (perhaps the Dresden picture), 
and three Vanitas, which he had retouched. We have already pointed 

out that several of the 
early works painted at 
Leyden contained studies 
of still-life. Mr. W. C. 
Cartwright of London, 
owns a study of a dead 
pea-hen, with a peacock 
hung up by the legs, 
and the figure of a little 
girl lightly sketched in 
the background. The 
execution, though drier 
and more summary than 
that of the Dresden 
picture, is sufficiently like 
it to suggest that both 
were painted at the same 
period. Finally, the Car- 
case oj a Jhillock (the 
Bxiif Ecorche of the 
Louvre), painted in 1655, 
shows that even at the 
most advanced period of 
his development the mas- 
ter still pursued the re- 
searches which, by the 
cultivation of his natural 
gifts, renewed his powers, 
and gave him an ever- 
increasing knowledge of 
Nature's harmonies. In 
addition to the artists 
before and after him who devoted themselves exclusively to such 
studies, many have sought in them a diversion from their ordinary 
work, or a vehicle for the display of technical mastery. It was re- 
served for Rembrandt, resolute to seek extraneous aids from reality 
alone, to reduce such essays to a method of study which he not only 
practised himself, but constantly recommended to his pupils. It is 
one of the functions of the greater artists to systematise exercises, 
which for others are merely occasional essays, and no master has 




SAMSON THREATENING HIS FATHERIN-i-AW. 

About 1635 (Derlin Museum). 




(i.orvui;.) 



PICTURES TAKEN FROM THE BOOK OF TOBIT 



177 



surpassed Rembrandt in the art of varying his methods, and so 
combining them on a definite principle as to gain from them the 
widest experience and the fullest benefit. 

We shall find further and most significant proof of the pene- 
tration and unwearying enterprise that characterised his genius, in the 
persistence with which 
he returned again and 
again to certain sub- 
jects, cither remodelling 
a former conception, or 
rendering the theme in 
some aspect totally new. 
The Bible we know to 
have been an unfailing 
source of inspiration to 
him throughout all his 
career. But he shows 
a marked predilection for 
special episodes. Certain 
characters of Holy Writ 
seem to have had a 
peculiar attraction for 
him. He follows them 
from their birth upwards, 
attaching himself to them, 
learning the details of 
their career, living their 
lives with them ; and as 
his knowledge of them 
o^rows, revealinof facts 
concerning them, either 
newly discovered, or set 
forth in some original 
form never attempted by 
any of his predecessors. 
We have seen that he 
had already treated nu- 
merous episodes in the 
history of Samson. I)iit 
this story, with its strata- 
gems, violence;, and opporUmitics for decorative display, lends itself at 
best merely to picturescjue treatment, and even the character of the 
hero, and the incidents in which he figures, are hardly such as to stir 
the feelings ver)- (]eei)lv. In the Pxjok ot lObit, on th(; other hand, 
the master fountl subjects lottier and more expressive, in which the 
deepest and noblest findings of humanity are called into play. The 
tenderness, faith, and patient courage ot the oUl man, whose jiiety 
sustains him through the most cruel alfiictions, the devotion he inspires 




KKAOMliNT OK THli SUSANNA IN IHB HAGL'f 
1637. 



17« REMBRANDT 

in his son, the sacrifice of his own happiness involved in the separation 
from this beloved child ; the youth's journey with his mysterious com- 
panion, his adventures by the way, the events connected with his 
marriage, the growing anxiety of the parents at his prolonged ab- 
sence, the reproaches with which the wife assails the blind old man ; 
his own regrets ; the joy of the return and of the miraculous cure ; 
the amazement of the family when the angel reveals himself, and 
vanishes from their sight — all these varied and moving incidents 
Rembrandt treated, some several times over. Pictures, drawings, and 
etchings form a series of compositions in which all the essential 
features of the poetic cycle are rendered. Some among the paintings 
we must allow to be not absolutely above suspicion. The Tobias 
rcstoi'ino his Fat he 7' s sight, in the Arenberg Gallery, for instance, 
duly signed, and dated 1634 or 1636 (the last hgure is almost illegible), 
is a work which does the master small credit, though we do not share 
Dr. Bode's doubts as to its authenticity.^ As much may be said for 
the small panel in the Oldenburg Museum, The Departure of Tobias 
with the Angel. The assertion in the catalogue, that this work is the 
pendant of the Tobit's Wife with the Kid in the Berlin Museum, 
dated 1647, is somewhat gratuitous. They differ considerably in 
dimensions — the Oldenburg picture is but 65^ x 7^ inches in size, the 
Berlin example measures 7-| x lof inches — and though in arrangement 
and general effect the former recalls other works by the master, its 
awkward, heavy execution proclaims it more probably a studio 
picture, for many of Rembrandt's pupils affected these same 
subjects. 

On the other hand, the Angel Raphael leaving Tobias, in the 
Louvre, signed, and dated 1637, is unquestionably one of Rembrandt's 
masterpieces. The drawing in the Albertina here reproduced, shows 
how carefully he had studied the composition, the arrangement of which 
he retains with a few slight modifications in an etching of 1641 {B. 43). 
The moment chosen by the master is that in which the Angel, his 
mission accomplished, reveals himself to the family at the threshold of 
their dwelling, and takes flight. Prostrate in adoration, the aged 
Tobit kneels, his face bowed humbly towards the ground ; his wife, 
overcome with emotion, drops the staff on which she was leaning. The 
young couple, bolder than their elders, gaze with respectful curiosity at 
the mysterious visitant, who, with extended arms and outspread wings, 
soars triumphantly towards the light. The simplicity and originality 
of the composition, the ingenious device by which the master, concen- 
trating his group towards the left, yet contrives to draw attention to 
the Angel by the flow of the lines, and the looks and gestures of the 
persons below, the flashing radiance of the ascending figure, with its 
floating hair and draperies, the beautiful adjustment of the pale 
blue dress over the white tunic, the nervous grace of the iridescent 
wings, the contrast of their brilliant tints with the sober, yet 
vigorous tonality of the whole — grays, yellows, greens and russets 
^ There is a pen drawing of this composition in the Louvre. 




^ 






^^ 



THE CHIAROSCURO OF REMBRANDT 179 

on an amber ground, forming a harmony in golden brown from 
a distance — the expression of the faces, each exactly attuned to 
the age and character of the actor — the austerity of the landscape, 
and the execution, sober, animated, facile, and insistent only in 
the most important passages — all these qualities combine to make the 
work one of the most original and complete of the master's creations.-^ 

But the crowning beauty of the whole lies in the master's treatment 
of chiaroscuro, and the extraordinary eloquence with which his effects 
characterise the subject, and bring out its essential elements of the 
sublime and the unexpected. Effects of light Rembrandt had already 
turned to picturesque account on many occasions ; but never before 
had he won them to such significant expression of his thought. Here 
again that attentive observation of nature he had so successfully 
practised in his studies of colour bore rich fruit. Chiaroscuro, as we 
have pointed out, had occupied him very early in his career ; his 
researches in this connection had been steady and extensive. Of this 
we shall find innumerable proofs in his drawings of this period. He 
found subjects for experiments in his own home, in his neighbours' 
houses, in the barns and cattle-sheds he met with in his walks about 
Amsterdam. He loved such interiors, in which the daylight is concen- 
trated, throwing out vivid rays here and there, whilst all the details 
round about are veiled in partial shadow. The painter carefully noted 
all these contrasts and modulations. With such effects he learnt 
to build up a composition, using them as others before him 
had used line and colour. In this novel treatment of light, which he 
had now completely mastered, he found endless resources. Infinite 
possibilities opened up before him through the medium of that 
marvellous element, which lends itself to such myriad combinations 
for the expression of human thought. The forms called up by 
Rembrandt seem to be transformed as we gaze. They emerge from 
the gloom and develop ; he breathes into them the breath of life ; and 
in a moment they melt away into darkness once more. The most 
commonplace objects take on poetry and mystery in this atmosphere. 
They appear to us at once material and transfigured, with the exact 
degree of definition or of uncertainty demanded by the master's 
conception. Borrowed from the world around us, they tell also of that 
world of imagination treated by the painter, and by him revealed to us. 

A little picture of a year earlier, at the Hermitage, the JFor/ccrs 
in the Vineyard, is as bright and limpid in tone and sentiment as the 
Tobias of the Louvre is mysterious and complex. Rembrandt's aim 
seems to have been an epitome of his studies in colour and chiaro- 
scuro, and a formal demonstration of the results to be won by 
a process of composition he had adapted to his own require- 

^ We saw a slightly modified version of the Louvre picture not long ago in I'aris, the 
Angel turned towards the spectator, with arms outstretched to the front. The dog is also 
differently treated. But though this picture figures as a replica by the master in Smith's 
Catalogue, we cannot accept it as the work of Rembrandt. In our opinion the heaviness 
of the handling and of the gradations, the harsh reds of the carnations, and the want of 
subtlety in the chiaroscuro, betray the hand of a jiupil. 



l»o 



REMBRANDT 



ments. Seated at a table, at the other end of which is the scribe 
who keeps his accounts, the master of the vineyard, cahn, and 
confident of his rights, checks the complaints of two discontented 
workers with an authoritative gesture. On the one side three of 
their comrades discuss their earnings, while others in the back- 
ground are rolling casks. Here Rembrandt has emphasised the 
salient features of the scene by a learned subordination of its details, 
and has further ensured the harmony of the picture by deliberately mini- 
mising all the tones save 
the resonant blue of the 
sky beyond the windows. 
The jVo/i mc t anger c 
in the Royal collection 
at Buckingham Palace, 
an upright panel dated 
1638, is less happily in- 
spired. The soft golden 
tonality is not wanting 
in distinction, nor are 
the attitude of the Mag- 
dalene and her radiant 
expression unworthy of 
the master. But the 
costume of the Saviour, 
H is broad-brimmed straw 
hat, the white tunic g;irt 
about His waist, and 
the spade in His hand, 
the pose of the angels 
seated on the stones of 
the sepulchre, the land- 
scape, and the fantastic 
buildings enframing it, 
verge on the grotesque. 
Here the painter has 
given a very imperfect rendering of an episode which must never- 
theless have appealed strongly to him. In the touching picture of 
a later date in the Brunswick Gallery, he has done justice to the 
inherent poetry and significance of the theme. 

Numerous as these works are — and we must include among them 
several of the scenes from the Passion paintt^d for the StatJiouder — • 
they give but an incomplete idea of Rembrandt's activity at this 
period. We must further note the drawings and etchings executed 
during these years. The subjects are, as before, drawn mainly from 
the Scriptures. The first we are concerned with is a Return of 
the Proiigal, dated 1636 (P). 91), the treatment of whicli is free and 
somewhat hasty. As in many of the master's works, the action 
takes place on the threshold of a house, raised above the level of 
the ground by two or three steps. The wanderer returns after the 




A YOl'NG MAN MCSING. 

1637 (LI. 26S). 




'< 



x:: 












— > 



^ 



ETCHINGS OF THIS PERIOD 



i8i 



many trials he has undercrone, and kneels, ragged and dishevelled, 
at his father's feet. The old man presses him tenderly to his 
heart ; his mother and the servants, hearing the noise, have hurried 
to the spot. The Abraham dis?nissing Hagar (B. 30), though 










1639 (B. 99). 



later by a year, has neither the breadth of treatment nor the expres- 
sive power of the earlier plate. Both types and composition have 
a certain vulgarity ; and the master has made local colour a pre- 
text for the indulgence of his taste for Orientalisms : he represents 
Ishmael in Turkish costume, and the patriarch in a turban and a 



iS2 REMBRANDT 

lonc^ fur-lined robe. Hagar dries her tears with a voluminous 
handkerchief, while her rival watches her departure with manifest 
satisfaction from a window above. In the landscape background we 
recoo-nise the lofty buildings that shut out the horizon in the Susanna 
at the Bath of the Hague Museum, which was painted at the same 
period. The Abraham caixssing Isaac (B, 33), probably executed 
the same year, has more of breadth, if not of distinction. The firm, 
decisive handling marks important technical advance, and the master 
has given great richness and animation to the plate by the flow and 
close intersection of the lines. But the two figures are utterly with- 
out style. The Abraham was discovered in the streets of Amster- 
dam, and the urchin between his knees bears an unfortunate 
likeness to the Ganymede already described. The figures in an 
etching of 1638, Adam and Eve in Paradise (B. 28), are as vulgar, 
and more repulsively ugly than these. It is hard to say which is 
the more unattractive of the well-matched pair, and the grotesque 
dragon who tempts them is a fitting complement to the scene. 
The execution of this plate however is remarkably free and 
delicate. Another plate dated 163S, Joseph relating his Dreams 
(B. 37), was preceded by a grisaille of the same subject, belonging 
to Mr. Six, painted probably some years earlier. It is carried 
out in yellow tones, the details put in lightly upon a thin glaze 
of colour, heightened here and there by semi-transparent touches. 
Beauty is scarcely the strong point of the persons either in 
the print or in the sketch ; but their various expressions are very 
characteristic of the subject, notably those of the young speaker 
and the old man,^ who looks at him earnestly as if already 
presaging the future greatness of his son. The same expressive 
qualities are combined with very happy arrangement in a Presen- 
tation in the Temple (B. 49), which was no doubt begun the year 
following. Judging by the finished portions, it seems probable that 
the artist intended to treat this plate with a good deal of elaboration. 
But whether from some defect in the copper, or some accident in the 
biting, all the impressions are monotonously gray, and the work was 
never completed. 

Among the engraved portraits of this period, the first belongs 
to the year 1636, and represents the Rabbi Mcnasseh ben Israel 
(B. 269), a half-length figure, almost full-face, wearing a broad- 
brimmed hat. As we have already said, he was a man dis- 
tinguished for his intelligence and uprightness, and one of the 
most eminent members of the Jewish colony in Amsterdam. Born in 
1604, he was nearly of the same age as Rembrandt, and the 
painter no doubt took pleasure in his society, and often consulted 
him as to readings of the Scripture texts. A friendship had 
grown up between them, and the intimacy thus established was a 
lasting one, for in 1654 Menasseh commissioned Rembrandt to 
illustrate one of his books. The artist has admirably expressed 

^ The type of the old man is that of one of the Philosophers and of several etchings of 
this period. 




y. < " TT 











Tobias and Ihc ^Inoc/ (about i6j6). 

(mu. m. h. si'iki.mann's collection.) 



"THE DEATH OF THE VIRGIN" 183 

the frank and loyal character of his sitter by the simplicity 
of his portrait. The head is drawn in outline, and very slightly 
shaded. The Old Jllaii imtli a square Beard and a velvet Cap 
(B. 313) of the following- year is more elaborately treated, as 
befitted the type, of which a sagacious prudence is the dominant 
characteristic. The drawing is somewhat round and soft, very 
different to that of another portrait of the same year, A Young 
Man seated and musing (B. 26S). The firmness and exquisite 
sobriety of the handling in this plate entitle it to rank among 
Rembrandt's masterpieces. It is impossible to forget the depth 
of expression in the sitter's melancholy face, his mournful eyes 
and suffering look, his air of weakness and ill-health. The cap 
on his head and the scarf about his neck seem to proclaim 
him one of Rembrandt's intimates. Taking into account the 
extreme simplicity of the execution, it seems to us that expres- 
sive power could hardly go further. A portrait of Uytenbogaerd, 
dated 1639, and commonly known as The Gold-weigher (B. 281), 
is a more highly finished work. Rembrandt, as we know, had 
certain dealings at this time with Uytenbogaerd, the Treasurer 
of the States of Holland, in connection with payments for the 
pictures ordered by Prince Frederick Henry. He represents 
the Treasurer in a velvet cap and fur-trimmed dress seated 
at a table, his ledger before him, and a pair of scales ready 
to test the weight of the bullion in the money-bags by 
his side. He holds his pen in his right hand, and with his 
left gives one of the bags to a kneeling boy, who is busy 
packing the coin into little barrels ranged on the ground near 
a great strong-box clamped with iron. A man and woman in the 
background bring more bags ; an arched picture, representing the 
incident of the Brazen Serpent, hangs on the wall. In the first 
state of this print, Uytenbogaerd's head is indicated by a few slight 
strokes of the needle ; in the second, the refined and very individual 
face is treated with the same sobriety of execution we ha\'e admired 
in several preceding portraits, while in other portions of the plate, 
as for instance the table-cloth and the kneeling boy, we recognise 
the hand of a pupil, perhaps Ferdinand Bol. But the general 
effect, and the skilful distribution of the light, show that the assistance 
of another was kept within narrow limits. 

The large plate of the Death of the Virgin (B. 99), also a work 
of 1639, is greatly superior to this, not only by reason of its 
more important dimensions, but in its beauty of arrangement 
and originality of treatment. It is, in fact, one of the most 
masterly of Rembrandt's creations.-^ Having made up his mind 
not to carry his work throughout the whole plate, he frankly 

* " Every lover of Art conies in time to luxvc private predilections ivhich he cannot 
always readily account for and explain. Thus, of all the plates of Ketnbrandt, the 
''Death of the Virgin' is the one that fascinates and moves vie most." Thus interestingly 
writes Mr. Uamerton, in his '■^ Etching and Etchers." He is assuming, of course, that 
tlu impyession you look at is really a Jinc o?ie. — E. IV. 



1 84 



REMBRANDT 



proclaims his resolution, and the decision he shows in adhering 
to it proves the completeness of his initial conception. Before 
touching the copper he made a number of preliminary studies, 
notably one of the doctor holding the dying woman's hand, whose 
figure, exactly reproduced, but reversed, is to be found in another 
of the master's plates (B. 155). In the Berlin Print Room there 
is a study for one of the kneeling women, and the bed, with its 
carved posts and canopy, is that of the Dande in the Hermitage, 
the only modification being the omission of the carved Cupid at 
the head. Every emotion brought into play by the death of 
one long loved and venerated is mirrored here. Some among the 
persons who gather round the Virgin's bed try to relieve her 
sufferings, as, for instance, the old man who supports her head 
with tender respect, and holds some restorative perfume to her 
nostrils : others kneel in prayer ; others gaze lovingly at her, or 
give way to uncontrollable grief. But in spite of the multiplicity 
of figures, the pathetic interest and the emotional aspect of the 
scene predominate throughout. The details, though peculiarly rich 
and varied, all contribute to the general effect, and, far from 
impairing the unity of the conception, serve to intensify it. It 
would be hard to say too much in praise of the bold contrasts 
which give richness and colour to this plate by the simplest means. 
Reserving all the light for the centre of the composition, Rem- 
brandt was content to render the persons whose faces and 
attitudes he so vigorously characterises, by outlines no less ex- 
pressive than concise. The eloquent brevity of such treatment will 
give some idea of his consummate draughtsmanship. In no creation 
has he proclaimed his intentions more emphatically, or given nobler 
expression to the emotions aroused in him by the poetry of a 
beautiful theme. 




THE GRANDMOIHER. 

Fen Hrawiiig (Stockholm Print Roon:>. 




FEN DKAWING HEIGHTENED WITH SEI'IA. 

(Dulce of Devonshire's CoUeciion.) 



CHAPTER XII 



Rembrandt's growing fame — his influence on his contemporaries — his first 
pupils at amsterdam : ferdinand bol, govert flinck, cerbrandt van den 
eeckhout, jan victors, philips de koninck, etc. — his reputed avarice — 
his tastes as a collector — purchase of a house in the breestraat — 

rembrandt's friends and domestic habits— etchings of saskia the death 

OF Rembrandt's mother. 




R 



EMBRANDT'S talents, and the favour 
he enjoyed at Amsterdam, had now 
made him widely known. His etch- 
ings, which had been well received from the 
first, spread his fame not only throughout his 
own countr}-, but in foreign lands, and many 
pupils came to seek instruction Irom him. 
We do not think, however, that he received 
any into his studio in the very early days 
oi' his residence. He was then less ex- 
tensively known. Besides which, the aoes of 
those who are found to have been his first 
pupils sufficiently prove that they cannot have 
become Reml^randt's apprentices till some few years atlcr his 
arrival. Wdien he had rather more time at his disposal, he found 
it impossible to refuse all of the many apph'cants lor admission. 
He was at once the most fashional)le portraitist and the most con- 
spicuous historical painter of the day. Various circumstances, as 
we shall see, had combined with his superiority over his rivals to 
secure his pre-eminence. 

We have already si)oken of the fiscination whith tlr('w so many 
Dutch painters to Italy. ( )n their return these; emigrants introduced 
the taste for P)iblical and in\ tholo^ical sui^jects, to_L;etlu:r with that 



BUST OP A MAN WITH CURLING HAIR, 
AND HIS UNDER-I.IP THUUST OUT. 

About 163s (B. 305). 



1 86 REMBRANDT 

interest in problems of chiaroscuro they had acquired in the cos- 
mopohtan colony of Caravaggio's disciples. We need but quote the 
names of Ribera at Naples, Valentin and Claude Lorraine in 
France, Elsheimer in Germany, and Honthorst in Holland, to prove 
that painters of all countries were busying themselves with re- 
searches bearing on the properties and effects of light. The band of 
Italianisers who had preceded Rembrandt was gradually dwindling 
and declining. The most famous of them — his master, Lastman — had 
died at the beginning of February, 1633, shortly after Rembrandt's 
arrival at Amsterdam. Others, such as the Pynases, Leonard Bramer, 
Moses Uytenbrocck, and Dirck Bleker, found themselves eclipsed by 
their young rival ; several among them became his imitators. Rem- 
brandt, though faithful to many of the principles of his national art, had 
extended its domain. To the charm of an incomparable technique 
he added the splendour of a rich imagination ; but more than 
this, his interpretation of the Scriptures appealed to the religious 
sentiment of his contemporaries, and he drew unexpected eloquence 
from apparently exhausted themes. He had thus a strong title to 
public favour, and his influence extended far beyond Amsterdam, 
making itself felt in cities which, by virtue of their distance or of their 
own artistic preoccupations, might have been supposed to lie beyond 
its reach. Dordrecht, which reckoned several masters of distinction 
among its painters, sent him a number of pupils in succession. Artists 
already established in the city, such as Benjamin Cuyp, imitated him in 
their choice of subjects ; and Albert Cuyp, Benjamin's famous nephew, 
soon adopted Rembrandt's methods in the arrangement and 
illumination of his portraits. Another of the Dordrecht artists, 
Paulus Lesire, who entered the guild of the city in 1631, made a 
more complete surrender of independence. In several of his por- 
traits 1 his sitter masquerades in the martial trappings so dear to 
Rembrandt, and but for their feeble execution they might easily be 
mistaken for works of his exemplar. In other towns — at Haarlem, 
Delft, and even at Deventer, among the Terborchs — we shall find 
similar evidence of the master's prestige — a prestige so great that, in 
the words of Houbraken, *' none but imitators of his manner had any 
chance of popularity." 

Such being the case, pupils flocked to Rembrandt from all quarters 
of Holland, and even from neighbouring countries, as soon as he 
announced his willingness to receive them. But among the scholars 
imputed to him there are some whose claim to the title we are inclined 
to doubt. We have already given reasons for considering Willem de 
Poortcr a disciple rather than a pupil of Rembrandt. Neither do we 
believe Jacob de Wet to have been his scholar. A similarity of 
names has caused a good deal of confusion between the various De 
Wets, and the question of their identity is still obscure ; but in our 
opinion there is no reason to doubt the accuracy of Van der Willigen's 

' Notably one in the Haussmann collection at Hanover, and another in the Seineno/T 
collection at St. Petersburg. 



FERDINAND BOL 187 

statements as to Jacob. ^ We have already mentioned this artist, whose 
works show a strong affinity to Rembrandt, in spite of a certain 
roughness of style and execution. We have also pointed out the 
differences between the two Resui'rections of Lazarus signed De Wet 
(in the Hermitage and the Darmstadt Museum) and the large plate of 
1633 ascribed to Rembrandt. The fact that this same date appears 
on the second of the two pictures seems to us conclusive evidence 
against De Wet's supposed apprenticeship to Rembrandt. The 
similarities to Rembrandt which we shall find in various other works 
by De Wet, such, for instance, as the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes 
belonging to M. Semenoff, and the Christ on Calvary in the Orloft'- 
Davidoft^ collection, are no less conspicuous in the works of many 
contemporary painters. 

As to Jacob Adriaensz Backer, if he, as is commonly supposed, 
ever studied under Rembrandt, his novitiate must have been of the 
briefest. Born at Harlingen in 1608 or 1609, he was nearly of the 
same age as his reputed master, and when he arrived at Amsterdam 
after his apprenticeship to Lambert Jacobsz at Leeuwarden, Houbra- 
ken tells us it was with the intention of practising independently. He 
was in fact already an accomplished artist. A first-rate draughtsman. 
he excelled in life-studies in black and white chalk, more particularly in 
those from female models, and as a painter he was famed for the 
extraordinary rapidity of his execution. Houbraken, who repeatedly 
takes occasion to praise his amiability and sweetness of disposition, 
mentions a female portrait which he completed in a day. Some of his 
more important works, such as the Portrait of Uytenbogaerd of 1638, 
in the Council Chamber of the Remonstrants at Amsterdam, the 
Regents of the Municipal Orphanage in that city, and the beautiful 
DtUch Family belonging to Mr. H. Krafft, give a very favourable 
impression of the refinement, sincerity, pleasant colour, and admir- 
able arrangement that distinguish his portraits, some of which 
are equal to any painted by De Keyser and Rembrandt at this 
period. Backer was on excellent terms with both artists, and De 
Keyser painted a portrait of him, which survives only in a print by 
Th. Matham. 

Born at Dordrecht in June, 16 16, Ferdinand Bol was brought as a 
child to Amsterdam. He must have entered Rembrandt's studio at an 
early age, probably when he was about sixteen. Both as painter and 
engraver he was one of the master's first and best pupils. He is 
supposed to have remained some eight or nine years with him. But 
he had certainly left him before 1642, for there is a Portrait of an old 
Lady by him in the Berlin Museum bearing this date, which also 
appears on three of his etchings. His early works arc very unequal. 
One, a Salome da^icing before Herod, is positively grotesque in its 
awkwardness. But by 1644 Bol's powers were fully developed. A 
Flight into Egypt of this year in the Dresden Gallery is a well-com- 
posed picture, slightly monotonous in its brown tonality, but marked 

^ Lcs Artistes dc Ilixarlcin, p. 324. 



iSS REMBRANDT 

by great sweetness and charm of expression. In the Angels at the 
Tomb of Jesiis in the Copenhagen Museum, a very important work of 
the same year, with Hfe-size figures, the scene, which takes place in a 
cave, is Rembrandtesque in its grandeur of conception and knowledge 
of chiaroscuro. Several of the figures are indeed borrowed froni 
Rembrandt, among them the woman with arms outstretched, who 
i:'"azes wonderinHy at the Saviour, and another, who kneels on the 
ground in an attitude identical with that of Tobit in the Angel Raphael 
of the Louvre. The figure of Sara in the Tobias and his Bride of 
the Brunswick Museum is almost an exact reproduction of the Dande 
in the Hermitage, and we shall find Bol kvying contributions on his 
master for various other pictures and engravings. His skill as an etcher 
no doubt enabled him to give valuable help to Rembrandt towards the 
close of his apprenticeship, for, as Bartsch remarks, "his management 
of the point is so strikingly akin to that of Rembrandt himself, that we 
should have some difficulty in distinguishing between the works of the 
two, if w^e relied solely on the technique for guidance." Of the fifteen 
plates catalogued by Bartsch, three are dated 1642, and three others 
1645, 1649, and 1 65 1 respectively. Bol's indebtedness to Rembrandt 
is no less apparent in these than in his pictures. In plates such 
as the Aged Philosopher, the Old Man with a cnrling Bea7'd, the 
Alan in a Cap, dated 1642 (B. 6, 9, and 13), and the Portrait of 
an Ofjicer, in a plumed cap and steel gorget, of 1645 (^- ii)- 
types, arrangement, and execution are closely allied to those of 
the master. The large plate of Abrahavis Sacrifice (B. i), the 
Gideons Sacrifice (B. 2), and the Family (B. 4), a plate of 1649, 
seem to be copies, more or less free, of compositions by Rembrandt.^ 
The rich colour and the distribution of light in many of Bol's early 
portraits are so closely allied to like features in his master's works 
that it is not unusual, even in the best collections, to find pictures 
by Bol on which Rembrandt's signature has been substituted for 
that of his pupil. Such are the two charming portraits in the Munich 
Pinacothek, probably Govert Flinck and his wife (Nos. 338 and 
339). They were formerly catalogued as by Rembrandt, and bear 
a torged signature and the date 1642. On two other portraits, 
belonging to Lord Ashburton, the date 1641 has been left, and the 
B ot the original signature is incorporated with the name Rembrandt, 
which now figures on each.^ We may mention in conclusion two 
portraits at Grosvenor House ascribed to Rembrandt, and dated 
1643, in which both Dr. Bredius and I fancied w^e could detect 
the hand of Bol. As time went on the pupil gradually eman- 
cipated himself from the master's influence, and showed himself 
the possessor of a pleasing original talent in many pictures lighter in 
tone and better suited to popular taste, which were much admired. 
Bol was honoured by commissions from princes, municipalities, and 

^ The latter reproduces the grouping of the Carpenter's Family in the Louvre, revers- 
ing it, however. 

2 They were Nos. 69 and 76 in the Winter Exhibition of iSoo. 



GOVERT JfLINCK 



189 



corporations ; he was employed on the decorations of the Town 

Hall of Amsterdam, and in the Museum and the Burgomasters' Gallery 

there are portraits by him of the Regents of various charitable 

institutions, the most notable of which is the group of the seven 

Regents of the Huiszittenhuis, painted in 1657. The artist became 

one of the managers of this establishment himself, and retained the 

office, which was then much in request, until his death. In his later 

portraits there is a certain tameness in the drawing, and the heads, 

somewhat round and heavy in modelling, have little of the individuality 

which distinguishes those of Rembrandt's portraits. Yet Bol was 

high in popular favour 

when Rembrandt was 

forsaken and neglected. 

Poets sang his praises ; 

he had amassed a modest 

fortune at his death in 

July, 1680; and Hou- 

braken, commenting on 

his happy and well-spent 

life, remarked that he 

had been " the favourite 

alike of nature and of 

fortune." 

Govert Flinck, who 
was nearly of the same 
age as Bol, must cer- 
tainly have been his 
fellow-pupil in Rem- 
brandt's studio. Flinck's 
apprenticeship was, 
however, a very brief 
one. He was born at 
Cleves, January 25, 
161 5 ; but his family 
had resolutely opposed 
his passionate desire 
to become an artist. 
It happened, however, 

that a Mennonite preacher visited Cleves, by whose eloquence 
Flinck's parents were deeply moved. They were greatly astonished 
to learn that a man of such exemplary character and high attain- 
ments was no other than the famous painter, Lambert Jacobsz, of 
Leeuwarden. They forthwith decided to enirust him with the 
education of their son, who made rapid progress under his teaching. 
Jacob Backer, a fellow-pupil in Jacobsz's studio, having lelt Leeu- 
warden to settle at Amsterdam, T'linck followed him. and jilaced 
himself under Rembrandt, with whoir. he remained a year. It was 
probably at his master's recommendation that he lodged wiih Rem- 




JOSBPH TELLING HIS UKEAMS. 

1638 (B. 37). 



igo REMBRANDT 

brandt's friend and cousin, Hendrick van Uylenborch, the art dealer, 
of whose house he was an inmate in 1637. His pupilage must 
have been at an end as early as 1636, for in that year he signed a 
portrait of a young girl, now in the Brunswick Museum. This 
portrait, together with one of a young officer (1637) in the Hermi- 
tao-e, and another in the Louvre, of a little girl masquerading as a 
shepherdess (1641), after the fashion of the day, have a freshness 
and brilliance of colour, and a delicacy in the shadows, which 
recall portraits painted by Rembrandt about 1633-34. Several of 
Flinck's pictures were based on the master's creations. His Angel 
appearing to the Shepherds, in the Louvre, was unquestionably 
inspired' by Rembrandt's plate (B. 44), and his Jacob's Blessing, in 
the Ryksmuseum, was as evidently founded on a drawing by the 
master in the Stockholm collection. At a later period Flinck 
was fascinated by the examples of Rubens and Van Dyck he 
probably saw at Antwerp. He abandoned his exercises in the 
treatment of light, and gradually adopted a bright, limpid, cheerful 
manner, in strong contrast with that of his master. His sober 
handling was better suited to the general taste, and his vogue 
increased as Rembrandt's popularity declined. His works were 
even more admired than those of Bol, and he became the fashion- 
able painter of the day. Vondel, whose portrait Flinck painted, 
applauds him in several of his poems, and other writers compare 
him with Rembrandt, only to proclaim his superiority to the master. 
Various important works for the Town Hall of Amsterdam and 
the House in the Wood {Htiis ten Bosch), near the Hague, were 
entrusted to him ; he divided the patronage of the civic guards 
with Van der Heist, and received many commissions from the 
Elector of Brandenburg. His marriage with the daughter of the 
Director of the East India Company at Rotterdam greatly advanced 
his fortunes, and he was respected as a man of means by his fellow- 
citizens. He built himself a fine studio, with a gallery lighted from 
above, in which he arranged his collection of statues, casts, pictures, 
and drawings. Connoisseurs and distinguished men met at his 
house to discuss art questions, and when Prince Maurice came to 
Amsterdam he was a frequent visitor in Flinck's studio. The two 
large pictures in the Ryksmuseum, Captain Bas with his Company 
(1645), ^^d ^'^^ Banqiiet in Honour of the Peace of Westphalia 
(1648), are typical examples of his powers. The proportions of the 
figures are not always correct, but the grouping is very happy, the 
execution is broad and supple, and the gay variety of the colours 
makes a pleasant harmony, more especially in the earlier work, in 
which there are echoes here and there of the handling of Van Dyck 
and of the intonations of Velasquez. 

Unlike Bol and Flinck, who soon abandoned Rembrandt's manner, 
a somewhat younger pupil, Gerbrandt van den Eeckhout — born at 
Amsterdam, August 19, 1620 — remained faithful to the instruction he 
had shared with them. He was the son of a goldsmith, with v/hom 



C' 









S//i(/y 0/ (I iro/inmi, sca/cd. 

Pen DiawinL;, liciglitcncd willi S(.'i>i;i. 

(lllnl.lOTllKQLE NATION Al.i;.) 



G. VAN DEN EECKHOUT 191 

Rembrandt may have had dealings, and had received some education — 
sufficient at least to enable him to write verses. Two of his effusions 
have been preserved, one written under a drawing of his own, the 
other under one by Jan van de Cappelle, in a Lid'er Ainicorum, 
or family album, a fashionable possession of that period. These 
verses, however, show no great poetic faculty, and abound in the 
laborious subtleties and conceits approved by the taste of the day. 
His artistic education was completed by 1641 ; a picture signed by 
him and bearing that date was shown to me in London. It is 
remarkable for its soft, golden tonality, and represents Jacob Blessing 
his Children. Van den Eeckhout painted sev^eral good portraits, 
among others that of a Sazant in the Stadel Institute ; but his 
best works are on a small scale. Though he had a certain measure 
of individuality, he shows himself a docile imitator of Rembrandt 
in choice of subject, as in composition, and treatment of chiaroscuro. 
His Wojuan taken 171 Adultej-y, in the Ryksmuseum, is a manifest 
pasticcio on Rembrandt's picture of 1644, in the National Gallery. 
But when he makes choice of historical subjects, and treats them 
on a large scale, as in his Darius and his Family, in the Hermitage 
(1662), or the Sophonisba, at Brunswick (1664), his execution be- 
comes tame, and on the pretext of local colour he loads his figures 
with the most fantastic accoutrements. It was no doubt his 
inability to work satisfactorily in large dimensions which prevented 
Eeckhout from undertaking those portrait groups of the civic 
guards which gave employment to most of his fellow-students. 
On the other hand, he showed some taste for decorative art. Two 
series of ornamental subjects are extant which he made from 
designs by himself, J. Lutma, and the two Van Vianens, for the 
use of goldsmiths, sculptors, and painters. Throughout his life 
he retained a tender affection for his master, whom he did not 
long survive, for he was buried at Amsterdam, September 29, 1674. 
We learn from Houbraken that he was also greatly attached to the 
landscape-painter, R. Roghman, one of Rembrandt's most faithful 
friends. 

Several painters, very inferior to those we have enumerated, must 
be added to the list of Rembrandt's pupils at this period. Among 
these was Jan Victors, born at Amsterdam in 1620. He must have 
quitted the master's studio by 1640, for his Continence of Scipio at the 
Hermitage, and his Young Girl at a Windoiu in the Louvre, both bear 
that date. In the latter, as in some of his portraits, notably that of the 
Burgomaster J. Appelman (1661) in the Haarlem Museum, and in the 
Pork-butcher (1648), a study in the Ryksmuseum, Victors shows that 
the master's teaching had not been entirely lost on him. But in most 
of his large compositions, as, for instance, the Joseph interpreting the 
Dreams (1648), the Dentist (1654) in the Ryksmuseum, and the 
three pictures in the Brunswick Museum : Jisther and Haman (1642), 
David and Solpnwn (1653), and Samson captui-ed by the Philistines, 
there is little to redeem the vulgarity of his types and arrangement, his 



192 REMBRANDT 

insipidity of expression, and the peculiarly unpleasant effect of his 
dingy yellow tones. Though Victors was but a mediocre artist, we 
learn from a document lately discovered among the archives that he 
shone in good works ; he accepted the post of nurse or attendant to 
the sick on board a ship, and died in India, after one of his voyages. 

To Dr. Bredius we owe our knowledge of another pupil of 
Rembrandt's, hitherto ignored. In March, 1637, on the occasion of 
the sale of the painter, Pieter Bassee at Amsterdam, Rembrandt, as 
was not unfrequently his custom, desired "his pupil," one Leendert 
Cornelisz van Beyeren, to attend. The latter bought a book of 
drawings and prints by Lucas van Leyden for the respectable sum of 
637 florins.^ Born at Amsterdam, probably in 1620, Leendert 
Cornelisz was the son of a rich timber merchant of the town, whose 
second wife was the widow of Jan Pynas the painter. He had 
frequented Rembrandt's studio, and his inventory, and also that of 
his father, mention several copies by him after the master, studies 
of heads, one of them representing a soldier. His early death, in 
1649, accounts for the extreme rarity of his works. Dr. Bredius 
is of opinion that the only picture we may ascribe to him with 
any show of probability is an Ecce Homo in the Buda-Pesth 
Museum. The execution of this work, which is painted in the 
Rembrandtesque manner, is quite unlike that of any known pupil 
of the master; and the inventory of Leendert's effects, dated October 
10, 1649, mentions a picture by him the subject of which was an 
Ecce Homo. 

Salomon Koninck has been erroneously included among 
Rembrandt's scholars. Born in 1609, he was but little younger than 
the master. He had received a very similar training, and ended by 
falling completely under Rembrandt's influence. David Colyns, Frans 
Venant, Lastman's brother-in-law, and Claes Moeyaert, one of the 
most prominent artists of the day, were successively his masters. 
Though he may be considered a disciple of Moeyaert, his affinities to 
Rembrandt are still more strongly marked, and his Pj'aying Hermits 
and Contemplative Philosophers are candid pasticci on those of his 
model. He even went beyond mere imitation, and we have already 
mentioned the numerous copies by him of the Rabbi of 1635, at 
Chatsworth. The mistake as to Koninck's relations with Rembrandt 
arose, no doubt, from the fact that Philips Koninck, probably his 
cousin, was Rembrandt's pupil at the time we are dealing with. 
Philips was born at Amsterdam in 1619, and buried there October 4, 
1688. He is best known as a painter of landscape, but Gerard Hoet 
mentions a Girl at a Window by him, and another of his works, 
a Sleeping Venus, was praised in some verses by Vondel, with 
whom the artist seems to have been on terms of friendship all his 
life, for he drew and painted many portraits of the poet. Of Philips 
Koninck's landscapes we shall have more to say when we speak of 
his master's. 

^ Cud Hclla7id, V. p. 217. 



REMBRANDT'S ASSISTANTS 



'93 



Hitherto, neither biographers nor archives have yielded any addi- 
tions to the restricted hst of Rembrandt's pupils at this period. Even 
allowing that some may have escaped notice, we cannot but think 
that Sandrart slightly exaggerated their numbers in the passage we 
have quoted. Though Rembrandt, in common with his brother artists, 
availed himself of his pupil's 
collaboration to a certain extent, 
he never systematically relied 
upon it. We have noticed his 
reluctance to sign works not 
entirely by his own hand, and the 
care with which he pointed out 
his own share in a composition. 
Houbraken, who quotes Sandrart's 
text in this connection, adds some 
particulars as to the methods 
adopted in Rembrandt's studio : 
" Each pupil worked in a cell, 
divided from his neighbour by 
partitions of canvas, or even of 
paper, so that he might be en- 
tirely undisturbed and independent 
of others, in his studies from 
nature." A drawing by Rem- 
brandt, bequeathed to the Louvre 
by M. His de la Salle (No. 202), 
of which we give a reproduction, 
represents the interior of the 
atelier, and confirms Houbraken's 
description. In the foreground 
a painter, probably one of the 
pupils, is seated before an easel, 
palette in hand, engaged on the 
portrait of a lady near him. Under 
a window to the left is a man in 
a large hat, drawing or engraving, 
and, in the background behind, an 
assistant grinding colours on a 
small table. Beyond him are 
compartments like the stalls in a stable, opening upon a corridor ; 
a large parasol, some draperies, a death's-head, and various objects 
arranged as a trophy adorn the walls. 

Rembrandt, who well knew the importance of individual work, 
was doubdess anxious to secure it for his pupils, by this sub- 
division. He was also cjuite capable of maintaining order and 
discipline amcMig the young men, when they showed signs of 
abusing the liberty allowed them. A story told by Houbraken 
sufficiently proves this. One summer day, the master, coming 




' '**!i!*f"*L*Wlii*''f^*-'5"' 



REMORANDTS HOUSE IN THE liKKfj IKAA 1 . 

(In its present stale.) 



194 



REMBRANDT 



unexpectedly into the studio, heard one of his pupils, who was shut 
into his cell with a female model, laughingly exclaim : " Here we 
are, for all the world like Adam and Eve in Paradise ! " — " And like 
them you shall be driven out ! " cried Rembrandt, and instantly 
ordering the door to be opened, he chased them down the staircase 
and into the street, barely allowing them time to snatch up a few of 
their garments. 

We have seen that the master, in addition to his studies from the 

human body, turned everything around him to account for his own 

instruction. The animals, objects of still-life, and stuffs he used were 

also copied by his pupils. Several of their studies, some retouched 

by himself, are enumerated in his inventory. He was careful to vary 

such work as much as possible, and to this end he made his house 

a perfect museum of curiosities, and seemed never weary of adding 

new acquisitions to his stores, costly materials, stuffed animals, richly 

ornamented weapons, plasters, casts from nature or the antique, 

pictures and engravings by various masters. He transacted business 

with all the principal art-dealers, and was a frequent attendant at sales. 

So early as 1635 he bought a number of drawings, chiefly by Adriaen 

Brauwer, at the Van Sommeren sale, on February 22. In 1637 his 

name is often to be met with in the registers of sales held by order of 

the courts of justice. He bought pictures, prints, shells, horns, &c.^ 

In an account book which belonged to the Advocate Trojanus de 

Magistris, one of the best-known amateurs of the day, a sum of 424 

florins is entered under the date October 8, 1637, as received from 

Rembrandt for a picture of Hero and Lcander by Rubens, which had 

been deposited with Trojanus. When Rembrandt wished to make a 

purchase himself, he very often commissioned one of his pupils to bid for 

him, as we know he did in the case of Pieter Bassee's sale. His interests 

were certainly safer in their hands than his own. A very significant 

piece of information on this point is furnished by the Florentine 

writer, Baldinucci,^ to whom we owe some curious details as to 

Rembrandt's character and habits, details we may safely accept in 

the main, as he derived them from the master's Danish pupil, Bernard 

Keilh, who lived with him for eight years. " When Rembrandt was 

present at a sale," he tells us, " it was his habit, especially when 

pictures or drawings by great masters were put up, to make an 

enormous advance on the first bid, which generally silenced all 

competitors. To those who expressed their surprise at such a 

proceeding, he replied that by this means he hoped to raise the 

status of his profession." Baldinucci adds that this man, who has too 

long been represented as a miser, " willingly lent all his possessions 

to artists who required them for their works." 

Houbraken was the first to accuse Rembrandt of avarice, thus 
opening up a new field of calumny to his successors. The instance 

^ Oud-Hollatid, V. p. 214. 

2 Filippo Baldinucci : Cominciatnento e progresso delF arte delT intagliare in ratne. 
Florence. 1686. 




^ 1 ^ 



^ 



FAMILY DISPUTES 195 

he cites in support of his charge is anything but conclusive, even 
if its authenticity be admitted. He relates that some of Rem- 
brandt's pupils, having detected his weakness, occasionally amused 
themselves by painting a small coin on the floor, which the master 
would endeavour to pick up. We know that Rembrandt's temper, 
though kindly, was not very long-suffering, and he was not the 
person to tolerate the repetition of such an impertinence. Granting 
that he may have been victimised on one occasion, it is absurd 
to lay stress on such a very natural impulse, one to which his 
habitual absence of mind made him especially liable, and which 
may be readily accounted for on other grounds than that of 
avarice. Few artists, indeed, have shown such a lack of worldly 
wisdom in the conduct of their affairs, and he was destined to 
cruelly expiate his want of method at the close of his career. He 
squandered his money in the most prodigal fashion : that which 
Saskia brought him, no less than his own earnings, and the 
legacies that fell to him from time to time. Far from watching 
keenly over his own interests, he was always too ready to neglect 
them, and in the administration of family affairs he was invariably 
guided by his natural generosity, and by a kindliness which, as 
Baldinucci assures us, " often led him into extravagances." As 
his money came in, it was immediately spent on acquisitions of 
all sorts : he also drew largely on his credit : and in the matter 
of ornaments for his beloved Saskia, nothing was too magnificent. 
The pearls, precious stones, rich necklaces, clasps, and bracelets 
of every kind she wears in her portraits, and in the pictures 
for which she sat, were not, as Vosmaer supposes, gems of 
Rembrandt's imagination, created by a stroke of the brush. From 
these portraits and pictures we might make an inventory of the 
young wife's jewel-case. We shall give the actual list further on. 
Urged alike by his love for Saskia and his devotion to his art, 
Rembrandt found it impossible to resist the temptation of these 
purchases. In addition to the silver basins, ewers, and cups he 
introduces in many of his compositions, note the jewels that sparkle 
in the hair and ears, on the arms, neck, and breast of the 
Arte^nisia in the Prado and of Samsons Bride at Dresden, as 
also those which are the sole adornment of the Daniie in the 
Hermitage. 

Certain of Saskia's relatives, prompted either by jealousy or by 
genuine disapproval of the lavish expenditure and unconventional 
proceedings of the young couple, began to criticise the household with 
some severity. Divisions had sprung up in the family in connection 
with the distribution of old Rombertus' estate. A series of law- 
suits engaged in by the disputants had caused nuitual estrange- 
ments. Rembrandt had espoused the cause of the Gerard van 
Loos, who had his entire confidence. On the eve of his marriage he 
had, in fact, placed all his interests in Friesland in Gerard's hands. 
By a deed drawn up at Rotterdam, on July 22, 1634, Gerard was 

o 2 



igf. REMBRANDT 

empowered to deal with all sums due to the young couple and to " sign 
all contracts and receipts for them."^ The result of the litigation above 
mentioned was a judgment given by the court of Friesland in the Van 
Loos' favour, and their opponents had no doubt vented their chagrin 
in somewhat free strictures on Rembrandt and his wife, declaring that 
Saskia had "squandered her patrimony in jewels and display." Greatly 
incensed by attacks which he felt to be not wholly groundless, Rem- 
brandt l^rought an action against the Albert van Loos, and supported 
by his brother-in-law, Ulric van Uylenborch, he demanded damages 
for " a calumny in no respect true," declaring that he and his 
wife were on the contrary "richly and even superabundantly (^jt" 
supcrabiindanti) provided with means," and that they had, there- 
fore, just claims to compensation. The court, however, adjudged 
his grievance insufficient, and non-suited him by a decree of July i6, 
1638.2 

In spite of his assertion of solvency, Rembrandt had already been 
in difficulties, and even before 1637 he had been obliged to raise money. 
His correspondence with Huygens furnishes evidence of his embarrass- 
ments. Writing to the Prince's secretary, on January 27, 1639, to 
announce the completion of the two pictures, the Entombment and the 
ResuTJ'cction, he begs for immediate payment, " as the money would be 
very acceptable just now." He further interviewed the Treasurer, 
Uytenbogaerd, who told him that payment might be made at his office.* 
On the thirteenth of February following, Rembrandt, having agreed 
to the proposed price of 600 florins each for his pictures, plus 44 florins 
for frames and case, returned to the charge, asking that payment might 
be made "as quickly as possible at Amsterdam." As however there 
was a further delay of some days, he repeated his request more urgently 
than before, begging that "the order might be made out immediately." 
His importunity was needless, for in the interval (on February 17) 
Huygens had instructed the Treasurer-General Volbergen to discharge 
the Prince's debt. 

We learn from other sources the cause of Rembrandt's impatience, 
and his solicitations for payment. A few days before he had bought a 
house. On his arrival at Amsterdam he had, according to Houbraken, 
taken up his quarters in a warehouse on the Bloemgracht. His letters 
to Huygens mention various subsequent domiciles. In February, 1636, 
he was living in the Nieuwe Doel Straet ; three years later he removed 
to a house on a new quay, at the end of the town, on the Binnen 
Amstcl. It was known as the Siigar Refinery {fJiuys is genaemt 
die Snykerbackery). Such changes were little to the taste of a recluse 

^ Olid- Holland, viii. p. 208. 

2 Scheltema : Discours sur Rembrandt ; notes to the French edition, p. 6r. 

^ It was probably one of these visits to Uytenbogaerd which suggested to Rembrandt 
the idea and the motive of his Gold-iveighcr, the print we described in the last chapter. 
It was also in acknowledgment of Huygens' good offices in this matter that he offered 
the large picture the Secretary had hesitated to accept. The date and dimensions 
(10 feet by 8) of this picture seem to indicate, as we have already remarked, that the 
Samson in the Schonborn collection was the work in question. 



PURCHASE OF A HOUSE 



197 



like Rembrandt ; he felt the need of a home in which he could set up 
his studio, install his pupils, and arrange his collections. On January 
5, 1639, he bought a house belonging to the heirs of P. Beltens in 
the Joden-Breestraat (a continuation of the Saint Anthonis Bree- 
straat), the second beyond the bridge. This house, which was^ in 
the very heart of the Jewish quarter, adjoined that of the Jew, Sal- 
vador Rodrigues, on the east, and on the west, that of Rembrandt's 
brother-artist, Nicolaes Elias. The price was 13,000 florins, a fourth 
of which was to be paid a year after possession, and the remainder 




VIEW OF THE blNNEN AMSTEL. 

(The Suykerlackery was to the left, on the quay with trees. 
(Facsimile of a contemporary engraving.) 



in five or six years. A sum so considerable in those days shows 
that the property was a valuable one. The house must have been 
in excellent repair, for it was a comparatively new building, as we 
know from the date, 1606, inscribed on a stone modillion of the second 
story. Rembrandt evidently counted on his annual gains for these 
successive payments. He now received considerable sums, ranging 
from 500 to 600 florins, for his portraits and pictures. He was 
beginning to make a good deal by his etchings ; he had further 
the payments from his pupils, and the occasional legacies that fell 
to him. In 1640, on the death of an aunt of Saskia's — probably 
her godmother, for she too was called Saskia — Rembrandt irave 



198 REMBRANDT 

his pupil, Ferdinand Bol, a power of attorney, dated August 30, 
authorising" him to receive his share of her property. The death 
of his mother shortly afterwards brought him in another sum of 
money. This had enabled him to pay off half the purchase-money 
of his house, and thus proclaim his intention of discharging the 
whole debt as soon as possible. Unhappily, his virtuous zeal was 
short-lived. He made no further payments, and the accumulated 
interest on the debt eventually became one of the main causes of 
his ruin. 

But so far the future seemed bright enough. In May of the year 
1639, he took up his abode in the house he was to inhabit till the tim«" 
of disaster, and, as may be readily imagined, set to work at its arrange- 
ment and adornment. His home had always been dear to him, and in 
this, which he hoped would be a permanent one, he delighted to store 
everything pleasant to the eye, and serviceable to his art. The life he 
marked out for himself was now, as always, methodical ; every- 
thing was made subordinate to his work. On this point his bio- 
graphers are all agreed. Sandrart, Houbraken, and after them Bal- 
dinucci, bear witness to the jealous care with which he guarded his 
working hours. " When he was painting he would not have given 
audience to the greatest monarch on earth, but would have compelled 
even such an one to wait, or to come again when he was at leisure." We 
know he had little love for society, and that he never appeared at any 
of the gatherings of his brother-artists. Though his pupils, Flinck, Bol, 
Koninck, and Van den Eeckhout, all figured more or less prominently 
in public life, he himself was a dweller apart. His name, unlike theirs, 
appears neither among the members of the Painters' Guild nor among 
those of the Civic Guards. When in 1638 Marie de' Medici announced 
her intention of visiting Amsterdam, the municipality arranged to give 
her a magnificent reception. While Hooft, at his country house at 
Muiden, was assembling some of the best known writers of the day — Van 
Baerle, Dr. Coster, Francisca Duart, and Maria Tesselschade — to cele- 
brate the daughter of the Medici in Latin, Dutch, and Italian poems, 
the municipality on their part prepared triumphal arches and decora- 
tions, the splendours of which they perpetuated in a work published 
at the civic expense.^ Moeyaert, De Keyser, Martsen de Jonge, and 
Sandrart, were employed in the undertaking, but Rembrandt w^as 
excluded. He never put himself forward, and was readily forgotten. 
Neither did he take much pleasure in intercourse with the polished 
devotees of classic culture who gave the tone to society, and they, on 
their part, had little sympathy with him. Sandrart's Italian doctrines, and 
respect for magniloquent tradition were infinitely more to their taste, 
and in some of the latter's reflections on Rembrandt we find the echo of 
their grievances against the master. After a passage in which he admits 
Rembrandt's genius and industry, Sandrart goes on to say : " What he 

^ A History of the Reception given to the Queen-Mother of the most Christian King by 
the Municipality and Citizens of Amsterdam. J. and C. Bleau. 1638. 



OPINIONS OF HIS CONTEMPORARIES 199 

chiefly lacked was a knowledge of Italy, and of other places which afford 
opportunities for the study of the antique, and of the theory of art." 
What was to be expected of a painter who, setting at naught "estab- 
lished principles, the usefulness of antiques, Raphael's draughts- 
manship and his admirable works, and the academic teaching so 
necessary to the profession," maintained that " Nature should 
be the artist's guide, and to her rules only should he submit"! 
The German painter, a man accustomed to live in the great world, 
further remarks : " Had he managed his affairs more prudently, 
and shown more amenity in society, he might have been a richer 
man. But though he was no spendthrift, he could not maintain his 
position, and his art suffered from his predilection for the society of 
the vulgar. " ^ 

Such sentiments were natural enough in a familiar of the Muiden 
circle, where Sandrart and his works were alike high in favour, Rem- 
brandt, on his side, preferred those simpler folks whose minds were 
more in touch with the familiar life of the nation, and whose tastes 
agreed with his own. That intimacy with small tradespeople, and with 
the lower orders, which scandalised his detractors, profited him more 
than the acquaintances he might have cultivated among the great, 
had he been so minded. Among the poor and lowly he found 
opportunities of observing the lively and spontaneous manifestation 
of feelings he could never have studied in patrician society. Herein 
lay his strength, that by virtue of the truth and intense vitality of 
his art, he was able to revivify apparently exhausted themes. By 
giving shape to the vague aspirations then seething among the 
masses he had shown the eternal freshness of the greatest subjects. 

Though he admitted but few to his own fireside, he could reckon 
many distinguished men, in whose society he took genuine pleasure, 
among his relatives and friends. Wc know that he had secured 
the lasting affection of members of Saskia's family. He had lately 
lost the aged Sylvius, who had always shown the warmest attachment 
to him. The minister died November 19, 163S, after marrying his 
son in May of the same year. But through the intermediary of 
the Sylviuses, Rembrandt had made the acquaintance of other clergy 
of the city, such as Alenson, Eleazar Swalm, and Renier Anslo, whose 
portrait he afterwards painted. With them, as with the Rabbis 
and Hebrew scholars of his quarter, he was able to discuss the sacred 
writings, and the problems of their interpretation. Among his 
intimates were also collectors and art-dealers, such as his cousin, 
Hendrick van Uylenborch, and a certain number of artists, chiefly 
landscape-painters, like R. Roghman, one of his most constant 
friends ; also a few favourite pupils whom he admitted to his domestic 
circle. 

His own home, however, was all-sufficient for him. There he found 

^ Yet Sandrart liimself did not escape Rembrandt's influence, as is evident in his 
large picture of the Banquet of the Plenipotentiaries on the Oeeasion of the Peace 0/ Miinster, 
dated 1650, in the Nuremberg Town Hall. 



REMBRANDT 



the two things clearest to him on earth, his work and his wife, that 
lovino" companion who anticipated his every wish, and shared his 
joys and his sorrows. Unhappily, Saskia's health had given him 
oreat cause for anxiety for some time past. Her strength had been 
severely taxed by the birth of several children. She had lost her 
eldest son, who was born at the end of 1635. A daughter, born 
on July I, 1638, w^as baptised at the Oude Kerk on July 22 of the 
following year, by the name of Cornelia, after Rembrandt's mother. 
But this child too had died, and on July 29, 1640, a second little 
daughter was given the same name, in the presence of Frans Copal 
and Titia van Uylenborch. This child in her turn passed away a 
month later, and was buried August 24, 1640, in the Zuider Kerk, 

which had become the parish church 
of the family on their change of 
dwelling. 

Faithful to his early habits, Rem- 
brandt continued to take Saskia for 
his model, and the etchings he made 
from her at this period mark the 
gradual decline of a constitution 
never very robust. In a plate of 
1636 (B. 365), which contains five 
sketches of her, together with the 
turbaned head of an old Turk, she 
is represented in various head-dresses 
and draperies, much as she appears 
in a few pictures of this period, still 
plump, and full of youthful grace. 
She has the same blooming appear- 
ance in one of three heads on a 
plate executed about this period 
(B. 367), which represents her 
leaning meditatively on her hand, 
the sunlio-ht fallino- full on her. In the Female Heads of 16^6 
(B. 368) the oval of the face in that which seems to us the 
best likeness is a little sharper, and in the Little Jewish Bride 
of 1638 (B. 342), where the master has drawn her in a loose 
wrapper with her hair unbound, her features are perceptibly thinner. 
Finally, in the plate containing some half a dozen disconnected studies, 
probably executed in 1639 (B. 369), we recognise her in two slight 
sketches. She is represented in bed, and the feverish anxiety of her 
face seems to betray some secret terror. Her sister Titia probably 
came to her for a time at this date, for it was then the master 
made the charming little washed drawing in the Stockholm 
Museum. Titia's nimble finofers are enfjaoed on some feminine 
work, over which she bends, spectacles on nose. Rembrandt 
himself wrote his sister-in-law's name and the date 1639 beneath 
the sketch. Saskia's continued ill-health, and the loss of their 




FOiaUAIT OK TITIA VAN UYLENBORCH. 

Pen and wash. 1639 (Stockholm Print Room). 



DEATH OF REMBRANDT'S MOTHER 201 

children, who had followed each other to the grave in such rapid 
succession, seem to have greatly depressed the master. Two of 
the etchings of this period attest his melancholy frame of mind. We 
have already described the Death of the Virgin, the chief figure 
in which was manifestly inspired by the two sketches on the plate 
above mentioned. The execution of a very significant allegory. Youth 
surprised by Death (B. 109), must also, we think, be referred to 




rVVO WOMEN IM BEDS, AND OTHUK SKETCHUS. 

About 1G40 (C. 365). 



1639.^ In this conception Rcml^randt reveals the gloomy presenti- 
ments that were working in his own mind. A brilliant young couple 
in rich dresses advance towards the s[)ectator, the woman holding 
a flower in her hand. At their feet crouches a skeleton, who shows 
them an hour-glass, reminding them how swiftly the sands of life 
are running out. These sorrowful fancies were too soon to be realised ; 
in September or October of 1640 Rembrandt lost his mother. She may 

^ Certainly. It is sii^iud and dcJui in that year. — /". //'. 



REMBRANDT 



have paid her son a short visit the previous year, or, as seems 
more probable, he may have gone to her at Leyden, and there 
have painted the bust portrait in the Belvedere, signed, and dated 
1639, in which she faces the spectator, seated, and leaning upon 
her stick. Her face has still the same kindly expression, but her 
broken appearance and air of fatigue and exhaustion proclaim the 
approaching end. 

On the application of her four children, an inventory of her effects 
was taken preliminary to a division of the estate. This consisted of 
the house in the Weddesteeg with the land adjoining, several other 
houses, a few outlying sums of money, a garden, and a half-share in 
the mill at the White Gate. The net valuation amounted to 9,960 
florins, the share for each child being 2,490 florins. Adriaen, with his 
sister Lysbeth as coadjutor, undertook the realisation of the property. 
He was a debtor to the extent of some 1,600 florins to the estate, 
the administration of which necessitated a new deed of partition on 
November 2 following.^ To relieve Adriaen, Rembrandt had ac- 
cepted his portion in the form of a mortgage at long date on 
the share of the mill. But being pressed for money, he gave his 
brother Willem a power of attorney to sell this mortgage. In 
spite of his habitual difficulties, he was the first of the family to 
repay to Adriaen his part of advances made by the latter on the 
property to be realised. Anxious to simplify matters as far as 
possible for his co-heirs, he agreed to their various proposals in 
that spirit of generous affection which marked all his dealings 
with his family. 

^ Oud-Holland, v. p. 220, ^ancl viii. p. 174. 





f\ 


J 


M% 


K 


j^S\' 




l^m^rl 




m 


^S^\ 



A BKGGAR STANDING. 

About 1639 (B. 163). 




LA.NUSCAl'E, WITH A MILL-SAIL AUOVE A CUTlAGli. 

1641 (C. 226). 



CHAPTER XIII 



'the carpenter's household ' (1640) 'the -MEETING OF ST. ELIZABETH AND THE 

virgin' — ' MANOAH'S prayer' (1641) — PORTRAITS OF THIS PERIOD: THE ' LADY 

WITH THE fan' AND ' RENIER ANSLO ' — ETCHINGS FROM 164O TO 1 642 

PICTURES OF THE MILITARY GUILDS IN HOLLAND — 'THE SORTIE OF FRANS 
BANNING COCQ'S COMPANY,' COMMONLY CALLED 'THE NIGHT WATCH ' (1642). 




AFTER the death of his mother, Rembrandt 
naturally sought solace and distraction 
in his work, and in the affections that 
still remained to him. And, as may be readily 
imagined, seeing how intimate the union between 
his life and art had always been, his works of this 
period faithfully reflect the thoughts that filled 
his mind. The subjects that attracted him are 
all closely allied to his most intimate musings. 
They are chiefly scenes of family life, in which 
he seeks to express, even more deeply than 
before, joys dearer to him than ever, now that 
his mother's death and Saskia's failing health had 
suggested their uncertainty. The smaller dimen- 
sions to which he returned in these works allowed 
of greater care and finish, and enabled him to give a more personal 
and penetrating charm of expression to every detail. Throughout 
Rembrandt's career, we shall note these unexpected recurrences to 
an earlier manner. After a series of large pictures painted with 
the utmost breadth and vigour, he constantly goes back to the 
small canvases of his first period, and accommodates his handlino- 
to their dimensions. 

The Carpenter s Household in the Louvre, signed, and dated 
1640, is one of the best among the small pictures painted by 
Rembrandt at this date. The composition is extremely simple. 



A WOMAN WITH A BASKET. 

About 1642 (B. 35C). 



204 



REMBRANDT 



A young woman, whose sweet, dignified face is seen in profile, 
is seated beside a cradle, suckling a child, whom the old grand- 
mother turns from her book to caress. The father planes a board 
near the high window to the left. Around these four figures, in 
an interior which serves the double purpose of workshop and living- 
room, are ranged the tools and utensils of their modest home. A 
cat purrs contentedly at a little distance from the group. The sprays 
of the vine that clusters about the open window are relieved against a 
deep blue sky, and the sunshine pours gaily into the room, falling full 
on the mother and child. The minute finish, the delicate modelling, 
the radiant aspects both of life and nature in this work, seem to suggest 

that the painter had put 



forth all his powers to 
shed lustre on this poetic 
conception of work and 
family life — the two 
things dearest to him 
upon earth. 

The Meeting of St. 
Elizabeth and the Virgin^ 
also signed, and dated 
1640, is in the Grosvenor 
House collection. It has 
the same technical quali- 
ties, and the same poetic 
charm. The old couple, 
informed of Mary's ap- 
proach, hasten to meet 
her. Zacharias, a vener- 
able man with a long 
Vvhite beard, hurries down 
the steps in front of his 
house with the help of a 
boy on whom he leans 
for support. Elizabeth 
has outstripped him, 
cousin, gazing at her with tender 
_ _ submits to her caresses in 
confusion at the honour with which she is received, 
skilfully grouped figures are surrounded by the picturesque disorder 
of a farmyard, with climbing plants and scattered animals, a 




-.. Wl .,11 ,■-»• » ^1 



STUDY Fi 

Pen and wash. 



1641 (Stockholm Print Room). 



staff in hand ; and embraces 
reverence. The young 



her 



girl 



some 
The 



goose, some fowls, a 
th(; handling equals 
falls full on the two 
scene, and the 



peacock on a wall. The easy elegance 
the charm of the chiaroscuro. The 
women, the central group of the cheerful 
spectator's attention is at once riveted on them. 



light 



Elizabeth's somewhat sombre dress, and the shadow cast on 
her face by her yellowish wimple, accentuate the brilliant figure 
of the Virgin, the flower-like freshness and harmony of her 




The Carpenter s Household {1640). 

(louvre.) 



" MANOAH'S PRAYER " 



205 



many-tinted garments, the sweet refinement of her innocent face, 
and the dehcate bloom of a complexion pink and transparent as a 
briar-rose. 

In 1 64 1 Rembrandt executed a more important work, the Alanoa/is 
Prayer in the Dresden Gallery. The subject was one to which he 
was anxious to do justice, for he made two preliminary drawings for 
this picture ; one is in the Stockholm Print Room, the other in the 
Berlin Museum. The composition in the former, the more finished 




M 



>^ 



.^i 



Mv 



^ 







STUDY FOR " MANOAH'S PRAYER." 

Pen drawing (Berlin Print Room). 



and elaborate of the two, agrees with that of the picture. The 
other, which is probably the later work, consists merely of a 
few strokes drawn with a hasty, feverish touch, and presents quite 
a different aspect of the scene. Manoah's awe and amazement at 
the angel's heavenward flight, his wife's terror at the thought that 
the divine vision may cause their death, these were the features 
of the sacred story which Rembrandt emphasised in his striking 
interpretation of the episode. It is much to be regretted that he 
made no further use of the aniiel in this drawino-, and that he 



2o6 REMBRANDT 

discarded the boldly rendered spiral of smoke in which the ascend- 
ing figure floats from sight. The angel of the Dresden picture 
is a truly grotesque conception — a clumsy, loutish boy, encumbered 
by a long tunic, whose wings seem quite insufficient for his support. 
On the other hand, the life-size figures of Manoah and his wife 
are among the most beautiful and touching of artistic creations. 
Never did the master so eloquently express the intimate communion 
of two souls, mingling in the fervour of a common prayer. Their 
reverent devotion impresses itself on the spectator, and so absorbs 
him that he scarcely notes the breadth and simplicity of the execu- 
tion, the dignified cast of the draperies, and the magnificent quality 
of the skilfully contrasted reds. In Manoah's robes these are some- 
what subdued, while in his wife's they glow with extraordinary 
intensity, both tones blending into absolute harmony with the smoking 
entrails of the sacrificial victim. 

Something of the same charm that marks these Biblical composi- 
tions may be traced in several portraits of this period. Rembrandt 
had always taken pleasure in painting old men, and it may be that 
memories of the mother he had lately lost influenced him in his 
predilection for old women as models at this stage of his career. 
Among his portraits of these we may mention one belonging to Lord 
Yarborough, which figured in the Winter Exhibition of 1890. It 
represents an old woman of about eighty, seated with folded hands in 
an arm-chair. She wears a loose jacket of dark velvet bordered with fur, 
a white ruff, and a white cap. A kindly expression beams through the 
network of wrinkles on the aged face, and Dr. Bode justly praises "the 
distribution of the lights, and the broad, fat painting of the carnations, 
through the shadows of which the rich brown of the transparent ground 
appears here and there." ^ A portrait very much akin to this in the Six 
collection at Amsterdam is dated 1641, and represents Anna Wymer, 
mother of the Burgomaster Six. She too is seated in an arm-chair 
almost facing the spectator, and wears a costume the elegance of which 
is tempered by a certain austerity — a black dress trimmed with fur, 
a stiffly-gauffered collar, and over her smooth hair a white cap. The 
pleasant face of this elderly sitter — she was fifty-seven at the date 
of this portrait — her high, broad forehead, the gentle gaze of her 
dim eyes, suggest a loyal, benevolent nature, and the careful finish of 
the execution even in the smallest details, shows an evident desire on 
Rembrandt's part to please a family high in repute as citizens, and 
well disposed towards the arts — a family with whom he was soon 
to form a close and lasting friendship. 

Portraits of well-known persons and of the master's friends 
are rarer at this period than before, and are more carefully 
treated. Among them is a work famous not only by reason of 

^ Bode, p. 461, Stiidien. A replica of this portrait which we once saw in a collection 
in Paris bears the date 1640, with the age of the sitter, eighty-seven years. It appeared 
to be an old copy, smaller and less frank in manner. Another copy, probably by J. 
Backer^ was sold by auction in London in March, 1889. 




x::i 



^ 



OTHER PORTRAITS OF THIS PERIOD 207 

the price recently paid for it, but further in connection with the 
name by which it has been known for over a century — Le Doreiir 
{Reinbraiidt' s Gilder). At the Due de Morny's sale this portrait 
was bought in for ^6,200 (155,000 francs) by his widow. She 
sold it shortly afterwards to an American purchaser, and it is 
now in Mr. Havemeyer's collection. In answer to Vosmaer's 
suggestion that the traditional title Doreur was probably a cor- 
ruption of Doomer, the name of one of Rembrandt's pupils, 
Dr. Bode points out that in 1640 — the date on the portrait — 
Doomer was barely twenty years old, whereas the sitter is obviously 
forty at least. Vosmaer's hypothesis has proved quite compatible 
with the received tradition, however ; for a document lately 
discovered by Dr. Bredius shows the sitter to have been, not 
the painter Lambert Doomer, but his father Paulus, gilder and 
frame-maker — "■lystemakerr Here again the brushwork is delicate, 
minute, and highly fused ; and this execution, which harmonises 
admirably with the age and character of the old ladies painted at 
this period, is in curious contrast with the energetic and somewhat 
coarse personality of the Gilder, the masculine vigour of whose 
features is accentuated by the shadow cast by his broad-brimmed 
hat, and by the white ruff encircling his face. In these perhaps 
involuntary reversions to the timidity of his early handling, the 
master gives fresh evidence of those conscientious doubts which 
beset him when about to adopt greater breadth and freedom of 
manner. This somewhat petty touch, reappears, strange to say, 
in a portrait of himself in the National Gallery (painted the same 
year) in which he is represented leaning his right arm on a 
balustrade, his face turned three-quarters to the front. He wears 
a gray doublet with a straight collar, over which is thrown a 
brown robe trimmed with black velvet and fur. As in the portrait 
of the Gilder, the white chemisette and the brown cap with van- 
dyked edges bring out the vitality and force of the face, its keen 
gaze, and bold intelligence of expression. But the somewhat tame 
handling, and the evenness of the laboured impasto detract greatly 
from that spirited ease so characteristic of the master's renderings 
of himself. 

A pair of portraits executed the following year are marked 
by the same conscientious thoroughness, but are freer and 
more masterly in treatment. The man's portrait is in the Brussels 
Museum, that of his wife at Buckingham Palace. Both are 
signed, and dated 1641. The husband is turned slightly to 
the right, and wears a broad-brimmed hat, a cloak edged with 
velvet, and a ruff and cuffs bordered with lace. He holds his 
gloves in one hand, and rests the other on a window-sill. His 
face is placid, his attitude calm and simple ; the expression and 
the careful modelling of the head admirably suggest the sitter's 
individuality. Remarkable as this work is, it in no wise equals 
the pendant, the so-called Lady with the Fan, a work which is 



208 



REMBRANDT 



undoubtedly one of Rembrandt's masterpieces in this gerire. The 
young matron faces the spectator, her fan in one hand, the other 
restino- ag^ainst the window-frame. The utmost refinement of 
tasteful elegance is displayed in her rich dress. She has no 
great beauty of feature, her eyes are small, her nose rather long. 
But the sweet contours of the face, the lower part of which 
is slightly in shadow, the high, pure forehead, above which 
the fair hair waves in graceful abundance, the candid expression, 
the touch of melancholy in the gaze, are so sympathetically observed 
and delicately rendered as to give an irresistible charm and dis- 
tinction to the gentle 
sitter. The spectator 
turns reluctantly from 
this exquisite work, the 
beautiful presentment of 
a pure and lofty soul. 

Two pictures belong- 
ing to Count Lancko- 
roncki of Vienna, signed 
and dated 1641 like the 
above, enjoyed a great 
reputation even in the 
last century. They are 
known as TJie Jewish 
Bride and The Biddes 
FatJier counting out her 
Doivry, and these titles, 
together with Schmidt's 
engravings, did much to 
make them popular. But 
their cold tonality, their 
execution, and pallid 
colour, no less than cer- 
tain peculiarities in the 
types and composition, 
suggest grave doubts as 
to their authenticity. We 
share the opinion ex- 
pressed by various critics that they are the work of Rembrandt's 
pupil, Christophel Paudiss, several of whose pictures are in the 
Vienna Museum. This, as we have already pointed out, is no 
isolated instance of false ascriptions in connection with well-known 
pictures in famous collections. The two portraits by Ferdinand Bol 
in Lord Ashburton's collection which bear forged signatures of Rem- 
brandts name belong to the same year (1641). Lady Ashburnham 
however owns a fine work of this period, the authenticity of which 
is above suspicion. It is another example of those double portraits 
so admirably typified by The Shipbuilder and his Wife. The picture 




PORTRAIT OF A MAN. 

1641 (Brussels Museum). 




Lady willi a I\ii/ i /O/i 

(llUCKIMiHAM I'Al.ACE.) 



PORTRAIT OF RENIER ANSLO 



209 



3 dated 1641, and has been variously described as Renier Anslo 

vith his IMother and Renier Anslo luith his Wife, although, as 

Dr. Bode remarks, the apparent ages of the sitters agree with neither 

designation. The male model was undoubtedly Anslo ; Rembrandt, 

who was perhaps a personal friend of the minister's, made two 




.:^;^:^v- ..-N^.; 






;Ki 



< .: i_'.. 



7.? 




RENIER ANSLO. 

1641 (B. 2;i)- 



drawings of him in 1640, from one of which (now in the 
British Museum) he executed the etching of the same year.' 
The other, a pen drawing with bistre, which was bought by 
Baron E. de Rothschild for ,^292 (7,300 francs) at the Galichon 
sale, is a study for Lady Ashljurnham's [licturc. Anslo's minis- 

^ The signs of the tracing process emi)loyccl for the etching, which is reversed, arc to 
be found on the drawing in the British Museum. 



\ 



2ro REMBRANDT 

tcrial functions are suggested by the introduction of a young 
woman dressed in black, no doubt a widow, to whom, with a 
gesture at once authoritative and benevolent, he offers the con- 
solation of some passage in the open Bible before him. The 
composition is peculiarly striking ; the expression of earnest 
conviction in the face of the minister, a man in the prime of 
life,^ and the respectful attention with which the young mourner 
receives his exhortation, exemplify Rembrandt's marvellous 
clarity and directness in the rendering of his conceptions. The 
masterly execution is well adapted to the dimensions of the canvas, 
and the perfection of the accessories — the branched candelabrum, 
the parchments and books strewn upon the table — would do 
credit to the most consummate painter of still-life ; while 
Rembrandt alone possessed the secret of the mingled firmness 
and delicacy evinced in such details as the harmonising of 
these various objects with the dark red table-cover, the yellowish 
gray background, and the sombre dresses of the figures ; 
and still more admirably evinced in the glowing carnations, 
and in the contrast between the broad masculine vigour of the 
minister's personality, and the refined features of his youthful 
visitor. 

Compared with these important and carefully considered works, the 
etchings of this period are somewhat slight and hasty. They seem 
to have been the master's relaxation from his more arduous labours. 
Yet even these rapid sketches, drawn directly on the copper, show 
his absolute command of every resource of the art. Studies of the 
Virgin had apparently a special fascination for him at this date. We 
have already dealt with the Death of the Virgin, the large plate of 
1639, by far the best and most important of the series. In further 
proof of his interest in this particular subject we may mention the 
etchings of the Virgin inoiirning the Death of Jesus (B. 85) and 
the Virgin with the Infant Jesus in the Clouds (B. 61), executed 
in 1 64 1, which followed closely on the larger plate. But in other 
examples of this date the master simply notes some fresh aspect 
of episodes already treated in pictures or engravings. To begin 
with subjects from the Scriptures, we find a Beheading of John 
the Baptist, more remarkable for originality than for pathos, exe- 
cuted in 1640 (B. 92). The composition is successfully modified 
in parts in a drawing in the Albertina. This plate was followed 
by various others dealing with subjects which had attracted 
Rembrandt in his first period. In the Baptism of the E^tnuch, 
dated 1641 (B. 98), his point is as free and flowing as though 
he were sketching with a pen on paper. Around the devout 
figure of the kneeling Eunuch we note all that exuberance of 
Oriental convention into which the master's uncertain taste occasionally 
betrayed him. This is especially pronounced in the figure of the 

^ Anslo, who was born in 1592, was fifty-one at the time. He died five years later 
See E. VV^ Moes, Icofiographia Batava. 




Shiciy for the Etched Portrait of Rcuicr Aiislo {1640). 



K-cd r.n I Black Clialk. 



i 



ETCHINGS OF THIS PERIOD 211 

cavalier who stolidly watches the scene from a distance. The Little 
Resurrection of Lazarus of 1642 (B, 72) is homelier and less 
dramatic in character than the large plate of ten years earlier, and the 
head of Christ is vulgar in conception, and rather clumsy in treatment. 
A bare mention will suffice for the Descent from the Cross and the 
St. ferome (B. 82 and 105), both executed in 1642. They are of 
little interest, the execution in both being hurried and perfunctory. 
In the St. Jerome, as in the Schoolmaster of 1641 (B. 128) and the 
Man absorbed in Meditation (B. 148), probably a plate of the same 
year, Rembrandt abandons his usual deliberate building up of a 
desired effect of chiaroscuro for a hastiness which has resulted in 
exaggeration of the contrasts, and opacity in the shadows. But 
these harsh and loaded plates are mere accidents in the ceuvre of this 
period. He errs rather in the direction of over-slightness, and in the 
fervour of improvisation is content to note merely the most essential 
and expressive features. He troubles himself little about correctness, 
and allows his fiery imagination free play. The breathless, impetuous 
handling of the three Lion Hunts of 1641 (B. 114, 115, and 116), the 
animation of the figures, the wild rush of the horses, the turmoil and 
confusion of the furious meUe, very adequately suggest such scenes. 
The hunted beasts, however, are incorrectly drawn, and recall the 
heraldic lions of the master's early St. Jei'omes. There is little to 
corroborate Vosmaer in his assumption that Rembrandt utilised studies 
made from the lions of a travelling menagerie that passed through 
Amsterdam in 1641. Van Baerle certainly mentions the visit in a 
letter of November 23, 1641, and speaks of the intelligence displayed 
by one of the elephants. There is also a study by Rembrandt in the 
Munich Print Room, dated 1641, for which this elephant was probably 
the model. ^ But it is impossible to suppose that Rembrandt could 
have shown such ignorance of leonine forms as he displays in the 
etchings of 1641, had he already made any of those remarkable 
studies of lions in which he so admirably suggested their attitudes and 
characteristics at a later period. 

The etchings from nature executed by Rembrandt at this date 
are infinitely more to our taste than these hasty compositions. He 
bestowed neither more time nor trouble on them than on the latter, 
but at least he worked from a basis of reality. They furnish ever- 
increasing proofs of the flexibility of his genius, and of that 
untiring industry which marked his career. The landscapes which 
now began to appear in his ceuvre we may leave tor future 
consideration, confining ourselves here to those portraits, domestic 
scenes, and studies of animals on which his graver was successively 
employed. To 1641 belongs the Portrait of a Child (fi. 310) with 
loner hair and attractive features, to which the title William 11. 

^ Rembrandt had drawn elephants before this, however. One of his sketches of these 
beasts belongs to Mr. George Salting, another is in the Albcrtina. Botli were made in 
1637. From one of them he drew the little elephant in the Adam and Eve of 1638, the 
plate described in Chapter XL 

P 2 



212 REMBRANDT 

was formerly given, in deference to that mania for conjectural 
identifications to which we have already alluded. Two other plates of 
this year are : the Man with a Criicijfix and Chain (B. 261), a sharp- 
featured, melancholy personage, and the Card-player (B. 136), in 
which we recognise the same model. The Man in an Arbour (B. 257), 
the Woman with a Basket (B. 356), the Old Woniait in Spectacles 
(B. 362), and the Woman in a large zvhite Hood (B. 359) are all works of 
1642. Charles Blanc supposes the last of these plates to be a portrait 
of Saskia, an opinion in which we cannot concur. All four are drawn 
with a firm, spirited touch, and are marked by extraordinary vigour 
and vitality. In some instances, as for example in the Old Man 
raising his Hand to his Cap (B. 259), which also belongs to this period, 
the master has sketched in his subject, and begun the shading of 
the face and hands, only to leave the plate unfinished.^ If a prepared 
plate was not always ready, he would work on any available 
space left on a partially covered surface. Thus, in the print of 
the Virgin zuith the Infant Jesus (B. 61), a small female head, 
bearing no relation to the subject, has been left by the master 
among the clouds of the background. 

The carelessness of these hasty sketches shows them to have 
been Rembrandt's recreation in the intervals of more laborious 
undertakings. The same hurried execution characterises the 
Reconciliation of David and Absalom, a picture with small figures, 
dated 1642, formerly in a pavilion in the Park at Peterhof, and lately 
removed to the Hermitage. The figures of the father and son, 
arrayed in Turkish costume, are peculiar rather than expressive ; 
and the background, with its fantastic architecture and precipitous 
mountains, is far from happy in conception. Both actors and scenery, as 
M. Paul Mantz observes, "have an air of sham Orientalism suggestive 
of a masquerade." Rembrandt's mind was absorbed in a greater 
conception. The masterpiece he had doubtless begun the year before 
left him but little time or thought for lesser works. The Night 
Watch was on his easel. But we shall perhaps be better able to 
appreciate this great picture if we briefly consider that special branch 
of painting to which it belongs, and the various works of the same 
class that preceded it. 

We have already described the important part played in Holland by 
those guilds or corporations which embodied national enterprise at the 
most glorious period of Dutch history. Among these bodies none 
were more important and influential than the military companies. 
Unlike kindred associations in Flanders, which consistently preserved 
their original semi-religious character, the civic corps of the 
northern Netherlands soon adopted a purely national and independent 
organisation. Encouraged by the clergy and princes, to whom they 
furnished guards of honour in the early years of their formation, 

^ In 1770 this plate fell into the hands of a printseller at Berlin, who induced G. F. 
Schmidt to finish it. Fifty impressions were printed, in which the additions may be 
readily detected. 



I 




5^ 



re .y. 



o 



^^ 






■ ..-:y^-'^' 



THE PAINTERS OF THE MILITARY GUILDS 213 

they gradually developed and extended. Their recruits were drawn 
from among the most prominent inhabitants of each city, and on 
them the civic authorities relied for the maintenance of public order 
and safety. Each guild had its place of assembly, or Doelen, and 
its drilling-ground, where its annual shooting competitions were 
held. The victor in these was proclaimed to the sound of trumpets ; 
a feast was held in his honour, and he generally received a prize 
from the town. In the primitive days these prizes were of no 
great value, and consisted for the most part of a silver cup or a few 
spoons. The prizes for contests between neighbouring towns were 
more important, and included drinking-horns, chains of silver-gilt with 
medallions, and gold or silver vases richly chased. These were 
kept in the halls of the corporations, and formed a sort of reserve 
fund. When the drill was over the chiefs of the corporation were 
elected, and on these, together with the victor in the shooting 
competition, the administration devolved for the ensuing year. At 
the conclusion of the solemnity the outgoing chiefs gave an account 
of their stewardship, and the proceedings ended with a banquet. 
The offices of captain and lieutenant were greatly prized, and the 
ensign chosen was generally the wealthiest and handsomest young 
man in the company. He had the privilege of w^earing a more 
brilliant uniform than his brother-officers. The esteem in which 
these divers grades were held tended, of course, to flatter the vanity of 
successful candidates. These dignitaries gradually made it a custom to 
perpetuate their transient honours in portraits which they presented 
to their guilds to hang in the halls of the Doclens. The destination 
of these pictures justified the exclusion of those religious subjects which 
still maintained their supremacy among the Flemings. Relieved of 
any lingering scruples on this score, the heads of the guilds were 
able to indulge their very excusable pride in such presentments of 
themselves in full military array, decked with the insignia of their 
various grades. Their subordinates, consumed by that passion for 
uniforms which characterises the citizen of all nationalities, soon 
began to manceuvre for a place beside their officers on these canvases. 
The chiefs, as may be supposed, readily accorded them a privilege 
which lightened their own share of the artist's charges, and further 
magnified their office by emphasising their superiority and importance. 
A graduated scale of subscriptions was arranged before the commission 
was given, determined by the relative rank of the members, the 
means at their disposal, and the pretensions of the chosen painter ; 
and thus, at a very modest cost to individual members, the Doclens 
gradually accumulated pictures, and became museums of considerable 
importance. As every town in Holland had its military guild, the 
interest in this special branch of art soon became general throughout 
the country ; it was, in fact, a national gcniw and may be said 
to have developed in great measure on parallel lines with the 
national history. 

The first portrait groups of civic guards were composed on much the 



ji^ REMBRANDT 

same lines as those of the rehgious associations. They consisted of 
rows of portraits ranged in double or single lines, without any attempt 
at unity or fusion. The works of Dirck Jacobsz, Cornelis Teunissen, and 
Dirck Barentsz in the Ryksmuseum, ranging from 1529 to 1561, are 
all typical examples, though they vary considerably in artistic merit. 
In all the arrangement is practically identical, but the artists make 
an attempt to put some sort of animation into the faces of their sitters, 
and to diversify the accessories in their hands. As a rule the civic 
warriors are painted in sombre costumes, and appear to be debating 
some question with all the gravity of theologians ; or they are repre- 
sented in the act of dividing a meagre fish, the dispatch of which is 
to be aided by the modest libations afforded by a jug of beer, passing 
round the table.^ From the year 1566 to 1579 no pictures of the civic 
guards were painted. The members of the various corporations 
had sterner work in hand, and had thrown themselves heart and 
soul into the cause of national defence and enfranchisement. In 
response to the appeal of William of Orange, in 1573, they 
formed themselves into volunteer companies, at Gouda, Dordrecht, 
Delft, and Rotterdam, in aid of the besieged Haarlemers, and it is 
hardly too much to say that the ultimate triumph of Dutch independ- 
ence was due to this spirit of solidarity, which urged the various 
civic guilds to join forces against the common foe. After the war, 
many of the corporations were reorganised on a broader basis, 
and their Doelens were considerably enlarged. They retained their 
ancient names, but these were purely distinctive, and had no 
longer any reference to religious patronage. Certain guilds which 
were formed by subdivision of the original body were distinguished 
from the parent company merely by the appellation new, while the 
older branch was known as the old ; thus we hear of the old 2iViA nezv 
guilds of St. George or of St. Sebastian. There was a strong spirit 
of rivalry between the various bodies, and the competitions to which 
they challenged each other became more and more extensive. The 
Doelens, too, were more luxuriously furnished and arranged. The 
walls were hung with tapestries, and the plate increased in costliness. 
Gaily coloured banners were suspended at intervals, with patriotic 
inscriptions : P^'o avis et focis ; Hdc nitiumr, lianc tueinur ; Concordia 
facit vim, etc. 

In the pictures that were the chief ornaments of these halls, it is 
natural to expect a certain modification after the war. It might have 
been supposed that the painters, many of whom had taken part in the 
stirring events of the times, would have been anxious to record some of 
the brilliant exploits of their militant burgesses, and preserve the memory 
of their heroism. Strange to say, we can find no trace of any such 
ambition. The portraits painted after the war revert to the convention 
of the earlier works, and the sitters are arranged in the same monoto- 
nous rows. The only sign of progress is an evident desire on the part of 

^ For further details in connection with these pictures of the military guilds, see my 
study in the Rroue des Deux Mondes for December 15, 1890. 




s. 



^0 



PICTURES OF THE MILITARY GUILDS 215 

the artist to give something more of animation to the faces, and to group 
the figures round the table rather more picturesquely. The sitters 
were generally represented glass in hand, and this motive at last became 
such a favourite one, that it was universally adopted. The composition, 
indeed, varies so little in works of this class, that they are to be differ- 
entiated only by the varying degrees of skill and care that characterise 
their execution. Among the towns which produced important works 
of this class, Haarlem and the Hague rank first. The masterpieces of 
Hals and of Jan van Ravesteyn in the museums of the two cities attest 
their superiority. Remarkable as these works are. however, they excel 
rather in beauty of technique than in novelty of conception. They were 
paid for, like the earlier portrait groups, by contributions from each 
member of the guild who desired a place on the canvas. It is evident 
that such a system was calculated to seriously embarrass the painter. 
He had to reckon with the claims and susceptibilities of a number of 
models, who, having contributed their share to the work, were all 
ambitious of a prominent position in the group. 

Pictures of the civic guards were even more popular in Amsterdam 
than at Haarlem and the Hague, and this branch of art was brought 
to its highest perfection among the distinguished painters then so 
numerous in the city. 

Cornelius Ketel, whose artificial elegance is somewhat alien to the 
Dutch ideal, and Aert Pietersen, whose rough sincerity more faith- 
fully reflected the types and manners of his contemporaries, were 
followed by Rembrandt's immediate predecessors, Cornelis van der 
Voort, Werner van Valckert, Elias Pickenoy, an artist too long 
forgotten, whose contemporary reputation is fully justified by works 
now collected in the Ryksmuseum, and finally, Thomas de Keyser, 
who, as we have endeavoured to show, exercised an undeniable 
influence over Rembrandt on his first arrival in Amsterdam. But 
these artists excelled chiefly in their portrait-groups of the 
Reocuts or Governors of the various charitable institutions. 
In the large canvases they occasionally painted for the military 
corporations there are but slight traces of any imaginative facultv. 
They were content to reproduce the hackneyed traLlitional arrange- 
ment, with unimportant modifications. And we shall find, as on 
other occasions in art history, that the few works which make 
some attempt at originality of treatment, were produced by 
mediocre painters, who, despairing of compelling attention by 
their talents, sought distinction by the ingenuity of their de- 
vices. This, indeed, is the sole redeeming quality of a picture 
in the Ryksmuseum by Claes Pietersz Lastman. the brother of 
Rembrandt's master. Commissioned to paint 77/6' Officers 0/ 
Captain Jyoonis Conpany, it occurred to him to illustrate a military 
episode very honourable to the company, who had taken part in 
the defence of Zwolle against the Spaniards in 1623. Unhap[)ily, 
his arrangement of the figures in stiff parallel lines is childish in its 
naiz'ctd, and the harsh, discordant colour is without relief of anv kind. 



2j6 REMBRANDT 

Sandrart was scarcely more successful with his large canvas of 1638, 
Captain van Siuietcn s Cojupany ttirning out to escort JMarie de Medici 
on the occasion of the Queen's visit to Amsterdam. It might have 
been supposed that the German artist, who prided himself on his 
academic training, would have devised some unexpected combination 
in connection with such a theme. His work, however, is commonplace 
to a degree. 

We shall find that the majority of painters who treated these 
subjects simply adopted the conventional arrangement of their 
predecessors. Very few among them attempted to modify the 
traditional treatment, and the timidity of their efforts, or the feebleness 
of their powers, rendered all such essays abortive. It had never 
occurred to any of them to represent the companies engaged in any of 
those military exercises which were the sole objects of their formation. 
Such a conception was reserved for Rembrandt, when he, in his turn, 
received a commission to paint a large picture for the newly erected 
Hall of the Amsterdam Musketeers. Rembrandt, we know, was not 
the man to bow his neck to the yoke of accepted tradition, nor to yield 
to the exactions that had hampered former painters of such com- 
positions. He claimed absolute liberty. When, on first establishing 
himself at Amsterdam, he found himself the fashionable portrait- 
painter of the hour, he may have made momentary concessions 
to the caprices of his sitters. But he had now been independent 
for some years, and had gradually abandoned himself more and 
more to the somewhat fantastic strain in his character. Large 
pictures and compositions, in which he could give his powers free 
scope, had now greater attractions for him, and the proposed 
subject was a congenial one. It combined realism with an appeal 
to the imaeination, and evoked memories of his childhood and 
youth at Leyden. 

Did his pktrons suggest the episode to be represented, or was the 
inspiration entirely Rembrandt's own ? We know not. But it seems 
probable that the captain of the company recommended the master, 
then in the heyday of his popularity, to the other members of the civic 
guard. This captain, Frans Banning Cocq, was one of the foremost 
citizens of Amsterdam at this period. Possessed of a considerable 
patrimony, to which he had added largely, partly by his own exertions, 
pardy by marriage with a daughter of the Burgomaster Volckert 
Overlander, he had purchased the seignory of Purmerland in 1618, 
and had been granted a patent of nobility by James II. in 1620. A 
man of intelligence and taste, he was probably quite willing to give 
the master a free hand in the execution of his commission. 
Added to which, the programme submitted to him by Rembrandt 
was well calculated to flatter his vanity. The proposed originality 
of treatment, coupled with the name of Rembrandt, ensured the 
notoriety of a work in which he, as captain, was to occupy the most 
prominent place. In consideration of the painter's reputation, 1600 
florins were offered him in payment, a sum greatly in excess of 



"THE NIGHT WATCH" 237 

any hitherto received for such works. The subscription of each 
person destined to figure In the picture was, on an average, one 
hundred florins, a little more or less, according to the more or less 
conspicuous position he was to occupy. 

After careful examination of the various studies and commentaries 
of which this picture has been the subject, the particular episode 
Rembrandt portrayed Is perfectly clear to us. The erroneous title of 
The Night Watch, by which the picture is traditionally known, may 
be disregarded ; the true designation Is appended to a w^ater-colour 
sketch of the composition, made between 1650 and 1660 for an album 
belonging to Banning Cocq himself. This sketch still remains in the 
family of Its original owner,^ and is Inscribed : The young Lord of 
Ptirmerland gives the order to marcJi to his lieutenant, Heer van 
Vlaerdingen. During Rembrandt's lifetime, there was no question 
as to the subject of the composition ; the name by which It was 
commonly known is recorded by Baldinucci on the evidence of 
Rembrandt's pupil, Bernard Kellh, the Danish painter already men- 
tioned,- according to whose unimpeachable testimony the episode 
represented is a March ont [ordinanza). Banning Cocq commanded 
the civic guards of the First Ward of the City {^IVyk No. i), 
and, as Mr. Meyer suggests, It may be that Rembrandt's former 
location in the district influenced his patrons in their choice of a 
painter. He had been an Inhabitant of the ward till about the 
summer of 1639, he probably had many acquaintances among the 
members of the Company, and had doubtless often witnessed scenes 
such as that he painted. The work is so familiar to students that 
it is unnecessary to describe It ; more especially as M. Dujardin's 
heliogravure provides our readers with a careful transcript of Its main 
features. 

The Night Watch has been the subject of many deeply Interesting 
studies of late. Among them we may mention those published by 
Messrs. Bredius and Meyer In Holland, and M. Durand-Greyille 
in France.^ Its history has been thoroughly sifted, and many curious 
details have come to light In connection with the circumstances under 
which it was painted, its successive migrations, and the mutilations It 
has undergone. Within the last few years, .much of its pristine 
brilliance has been restored under Mr. Hopman's prudent and skilful 
treatment. The moment Is favourable for a review of the various 
new elements available for a critical examination of the subject, and 
it will be interesting to see how far these tend to modify existing 
appreciations of a work which has been the subject of so much 
controversy. 

1 It belongs to Mr. de Graeff van Polsbrocck, Minister to the late King of Holland. 

- Coininciamento e progresso deil' arte deW intagliarc in rame, by F. Baldinucci. 

3 Messrs. Dredius and Meyer's studies a])pcared in Lcs Clwfs-d'auvre du Mush 
d' Amsterdam, ?,n^ in Oud-Holland, ^x\f\ M. Durand-CJreville has published a variety of 
articles bearing on the subject in La Rcvuc blcuc, L Artiste, and the Gazette dcs I^eaux 
Arts. 



2i8 REMBRANDT 

Fascinated by the proposed theme, Rembrandt began his 
task at once. In spite of the difficukies and complexities of 
the episode he was about to treat, he seems to have dispensed with 
everything in the nature of serious preparatory study for this large 
canvas. No sketch of the composition as a whole has ever been 
discovered. The only studies extant are two hasty sketches of the 
central group, belonging to M. Leon Bonnat, one in black chalk, the 
other a pen drawing. Rembrandt was destined to pay dearly for this 
neglect during the course of his work. The absence of preliminary 
study fully accounts for the inequalities and faults of proportion, as for 
the various re-paints and corrections that disfigure the picture. Ex- 
ception has not unreasonably been taken to the motley costumes and 
heterogeneous weapons of the company, and the extraordinary confusion 
that seems to obtain among the troop says little for its discipline. 
We may add that, in spite of the various explanations proposed, 
several of the figures are curiously enigmatical. What, for instance, 
was the painter's object in the introduction of the two little girls, one 
of whom has a cock hanging from her girdle.'* Is the bird, as Mr. 
Meyer suggests, a rebus on the Captain's name ? Or, as seems more 
probable, was it a prize for which the marksmen were to compete ? 
Or had Rembrandt, as Fromentin believes, no special intention with 
regard to these two little figures ? Did he introduce them merely 
because he felt that some such high-toned passage was needed, and 
would add greatly to the effect of his composition ? We might further 
inquire why all the actors in the drama are so agitated, whither they 
are hurrying, and where they are supposed to be ? Criticism of the 
anecdotic order has offered solutions more or less plausible for all these 
problems, determining what historic event led to this sortie, ana 
endeav^ouring to identify the gate from which the company has issued, 
and the bridge it is about to cross. It is our own opinion that in 
these minor matters Rembrandt gave free play to his fancy. He 
chose the most picturesque elements of the actual scene, and 
combined them with details suggested by his imaginative instinct, 
thus summing up all the essential and characteristic features of such 
an episode. 

To us, we must confess, the master's intention seems patent at the 
first glance. The incident is unquestionably a call to arms of the 
civic guard. The two officers have hastened to the domicile of the 
company ; they seek to stimulate the zeal of their followers by pressing- 
forward themselves. The captain gives his orders to the lieutenant ; 
behind them the drum beats the alarm, and the ensign unfurls his 
standard. Every man snatches up a weapon of some sort, musket, 
lance, or halberd. Dogs bark ; children, eager to share in the com- 
motion, slip in among the soldiers. The composition agrees on every 
point with the idea it suggests, and there is no room for doubt as to the 
theme. But fault has been found with the work on another score. 
It has been pointed out that the canvas is crowded to excess ; that it 
affords no repose to the eye ; and has the appearance of being pent in 







o 



^VW^ks. 



"THE NIGHT WATCH" 219 

and imprisoned by the frame. The feet of the two officers touch the 
edge in the centre ; the drum on the right, the child who is runnino-, 
and the man seated on the parapet to the left are cut in two by 
the frame. The eftect of this is extremely startling and unpleasant. 
The composition has no definite limits, and instead of gradually 
melting away, as it were, is suddenly cut short at either end. But 
for these undeniable blemishes the master is in no wise account- 
able. They are due, not to Rembrandt, but to those who mutilated 
his creation. 

The fact of these mutilations has been completely established, in 
spite of Vosmaer and De Vries, whose patriotic sentiments moved 
them to discredit it. Dr. J. Dyserinck fully discussed the question in 
a study recently published in Holland,^ and tells us why and when 
this act of vandalism was committed. He learnt from* documents 
among the archives that the Night IVatcJi was placed in the Hall of 
the Musketeers' Doclen in 1642, and was eventually removed to the 
Town Hall of Amsterdam. The transfer was decided upon in 1682. 
but was deferred on various occasions, and was not finally accomplished 
till May, 1 715. It was then the mutilation a contemporary picture- 
restorer has recorded took place. J. van Dyck, in his description of 
the pictures in the Amsterdam Town Hall," remarks, that in order to 
suit the picture to the dimensions of its appointed place between the 
two doors of the small council-chamber, " it was found necessary to 
cut off two figures to the right of the canvass, and part of the drum to 
the left, as may be seen by comparison of the original with the copy 
in Heer Boendermaker's possession." Barbarous as such a proceeding 
appears to us, it was very lightly regarded in the last century. 
Collectors and dealers occasionally cut up pictures, making two or 
more out of one, and it is not unusual to find works in public galleries 
or private collections, the original dimensions of which have been 
modified, either to accommodate them to some particular space, or 
merely to make them fit some frame in the owner's possession. The 
copy cited by Van Dyck in support of his assertion was long supposed 
to be Rembrandt's own study for the large picture, or a replica. It 
was made, how^ever, by a painter of rustic subjects, named Gerrit 
Lundens, a contemporary of Rembrandt, but of a later generation.^ 
It was executed before the transfer of the picture to the Town Hall, 
and is, on the whole, a very faithful reproduction of the master's work 
in its entirety, corresponding almost exactly with Mr. de Graeff van 
Poelsbroeck's water-colour."* The identity of proportion in the two 
makes it possible to estimate the approximate dimensions of the strips 

^ See the periodical, De Gids (1890). 

2 Kunst en Historiekuiidige Bcsc/iyri/ig iwi die de Schildcrycn op hct Sfad/iuis te 
Amsterdam, 1758. 

2 Lundens' picture was in the Randon de Boisset collection for a time. It now 
belongs to the National Gallery. 

* The mediocre engraving of the Nighl Watch, executed by Claessens in 1797, was 
probably made from Lundens' copy. 



220 REMBRANDT 

shorn from Rembrandt's work at 26x11 inches. In the light of 
the information now accessible, the student may form a fair idea 
of the picture in its original state, when the composition was, of course, 
better placed on the canvas, with an ample margin below, and a restful 
space in partial shadow on either side. The central group, though to 
the full as important as now, did not then divide the picture into two 
equal parts ; the masses were consequently better balanced and more 
rhythmical. 

Certain defects in the rendering of chiaroscuro and values, 
though less obvious, no doubt, when the work first left Rembrandt's 
studio, must nevertheless be laid to the master's account. The lights 
are too much broken, the contrasts too numerous and too violent 
But other blemishes proceed entirely from injuries sustained by the 
picture in the course of years. Very little care was bestowed on works 
of art in the Doelens, which were practically tap-rooms. Tobacco-smoke 
and the fumes from peat-fires soon blackened the pictures on the walls. 
They were re- varnished from time to time, but the accumulated dirt 
was never properly removed, and was therefore firmly embedded in 
the successive strata. Van Dyck mentions the accumulation of rancid 
oil and varnish he had to remove from the NigJit JVatch ; but the 
cleaning to which he subjected the picture can hardly have been very 
thorough, for in a short time it seems to have been again in a 
deplorable state. The tones had darkened so much, and the shadows 
had become so black, that Reynolds could scarcely recognise 
Rembrandt's handiwork, when he saw it in 1781. Its appearance 
at this date fully accounted for the title The Night Watch, bestowed 
upon it in the eighteenth century. The darkness that was gradually 
invading the canvas seemed to justify the misnomer. 

The restoration of the picture was long delayed, owing to the 
difficulties of the undertaking. At last, however, it could no longer be 
deferred, and in 1889, Mr. Hopman accomplished it, with complete 
success. The superficial stratum of oil and varnish, which had become 
rough and opaque, was rubbed down ; it was then made transparent by 
exposing the canvas to the fumes of cold alcohol. The picture regained 
its pristine brilliance, to the astonishment of those most familiar with 
it, who now found it necessary greatly to modify the estimate they had 
formed of it in its degenerate state. The blacks have recovered their 
rich, velvety quality, the light colours their freshness, and, although the 
contrasts have become more marked in the process, the transparent 
shadows so modify the transitions, that there is no hardness in the 
effects. Many passages that were almost invisible have come to 
light ; the eye is charmed by countless unsuspected beauties, but 
in spite of the mass of detail that has emerged, the composition 
has gained unity and harmony, as a whole. The much-dreaded 
operation, to which the authorities at last regretfully resigned them- 
selves, has had, in short, the happiest results. It is now evident 
enough that Rembrandt painted the scene in sunlight. There 
is not the slightest indication of artificial light, and it is even 



"THE NIGHT WATCH 



221 



possible to deduce the exact position of the sun at the moment, 
from the shadow cast by Banning Cocq's hand on his Heutenant's 
tunic. It must have been well above the horizon to the left. 
M. Durand-Greville, however, rather over-shoots the mark when 
he talks of the " brilliant effects of sunlight," and of the picture 
in its original state as a very light one. "Contemporary testimony 
is uniformly opposed to these assertions. Setting aside the con- 
ditions under which Rembrandt executed the work, and his 
numerous corrections and repaints, which, as Vosmaer justly remarks, 
must have tended very much to darken the picture, it was un- 




corv 'J^■ ke.mi'.uandt's "night watch." 
By G. Lundens (Xaiional Gallery). 



doubtedly deep and full in tone from the first. Of this we shall 
find ample proof in the strictures with which the N^ig/it JVa/c/i 
was assailed on its first appearance. Vondel, contrasting the 
"brightness" of Flinck's works with the mystery of Rembrandt's, 
to whom he covertly alludes, under the style of " Prince of Dark- 
ness," takes exception to the "artificial gloom, the shadows, and 
half-lights," which had invaded Dutch painting for some time past. 
Hoogstraaten's praises of his master's work, written in 167S, are 
chastened by regrets that "he did not put more light into the j)icture." 
A little later Houbraken declares that " when the passing infatuation 



222 REMBRANDT 

of the public had subsided, true connoisseurs turned away from him, 
and Hght painting came into favour once more." 

Just at this period the master's predilection for deep amber 
tones was becoming more and more marked. The first portraits 
he painted at Amsterdam are remarkable for their clear colour- 
ing, cocl, silvery harmonies, and neutral shadows, inclining some- 
what to green. But his tonality had become gradually richer. 
As his preoccupation with chiaroscuro increased, his shadows 
became not only more transparent, but warmer and more golden. 
Though nature was the invariable basis of all his creations, he 
claimed to interpret her from his own point of view, and through the 
medium of his own intensely personal genius. In painting the Night 
Watch he probably put a certain constraint on himself. The har- 
monising of colours and the treatment of light were the main problems 
involved, and here he evidently hesitated to sacrifice the first to the last, 
as he would undoubtedly have done at a later period. He attempted 
to combine vigorous tonality with powerful chiaroscuro — a consumma- 
tion very difficult of achievement. Hence the mixture of violence 
and timidity in this work, which betrays the tension of a mind not fully 
made up, and supported by no very definite conception. Unwearying 
in his quest of knowledge, in his desire for perfection, it was natural 
that there should be phases of temporary arrest, even of momentary 
retrogression, in the course on which he had been the first to venture. 
But his genius led him towards increasing freedom, till, happy in the new- 
resources with which he had enriched his art, he took courage, and put 
forth all the strength of his originality. As has been aptly said, " shadow 
became his poetic vehicle," and if he did not, as Fromentin adds, exactly 
" make his day out of night," he may certainly be said to have 
evolved it from shadows. Though he never absolutely abandoned 
contrasts of colour, he gradually inclined more and more to a mono- 
chromatic harmony, in which russets, warm browns, fawns, and golden 
tints predominated, and in this comparatively restricted scale he found 
gradations of infinite variety and delicacy. 

In spite of the injuries wrought by time, and of the unfortunate 
proximity of certain pictures which detract from its effect in the Ryks- 
museum, the Night Watch — though we shall not urge its claims to be 
entitled Rembrandt's masterpiece — is certainly one of his most interest- 
ing works, and one before which the student is most disposed to linger, 
attracted by that strange commingling of fact and poetry so stimulating 
alike to appreciation and to criticism. More forcible, indeed, than 
nature itself, Rembrandt has alight and life of his own, and when, after 
contemplating his work for a while, the eye wanders to the canvases 
around, they seem poor, meagre, inanimate, and, as Samuel van 
Hoogstraaten remarked, "no better than the pictures in a pack of 
cards." 

The N'ight Watch, therefore, holds a place apart in the history of 
corporation pictures, alike by virtue of originality of treatment and 
beauty of execution. The master's predecessors had been content with 



''THE NIGHT WATCH" 



223 



a convention absolutely insignificant from the picturesque standpoint ; 
the natural method of arrangement seems never to have suggested 
itself to them. It was reserved for Rembrandt, in his first essay in this 
geuf^e, to recognise the true conditions of such a class of pictures. As 
ten years before in the Aiiatomy Lesson, and twenty years later in the 
Syndics of the Cloth Hall, he now distanced all his rivals on their own 
ground. Like them, he had been content to express his meaning plainly, 
without the help of allegory ; but he had brushed aside all the conven- 
tions in which they had been gradually entangled. Basing his work on 
the direct study of nature, he had brought the features he considered 
essentially characteristic into strong relief. His Anatomy Lesson was 
the glorification of Science itself ; in his Sortie of a Company of 
Amsterdam Musketeers he embodied that civic heroism which had lately 
compassed Dutch independence ; and in a group of five cloth-merchants 
seated round a table, discussing the affairs of their guild, he summed up, 
as it were, in a few immortal types, the noble sincerity of Dutch por- 
traiture. These three works themselves invite us to overstep the limits 
of actuality on which they were based ; they speak to us of the ideal ; 
they are not only landmarks in a great career, but evidences to that 
superiority over all his predecessors which we claim for the master — a 
superiority which becomes more conspicuous still if we look forward 
to those who succeeded him. 




WOMAN IN A LAKi.l. HOOO. 

About 1642 (B. 359). 




A I.AKOE LANUSCAMi;, WITH A COTTAGt AND A OUTCH HAYBAKN. 

1641 (B. 22.0. 



CHAPTER XIV 



SASKIA'S last illness — HER WILL — HER DEATH — THE EFFECT PRODUCED BY ' THE 

NIGHT WATCH ' PICTURES OF THIS PERIOD : ' HOLY FAMILIES ' ' BATHSHEBA ' 

' THE WOMAN TAKEN IN ADULTERY ' ' PORTRAIT OF ELIZABETH BAS ' ETCHINGS 

FROM 1643 TO 1645 — LANDSCAPE STUDIES — 'THE THREE TREES.' 




T 



PORTRAIT OF REMBRANDT WITH 
A FUR CAP AND LIGHT DRESS. 



HE NigJit Watch was finished in the 
earlier part of 1642. The year before, 
the happiness of Rembrandt and his 
wife had been crowned by the birth of a son. 
He was baptised in the Zuider Kerk, Septem- 
ber 22, 1 64 1, by the name of Titus, in memory 
of Saskia's sister Titia, who died at Fhishing 
on June 16 of the same year. Rembrandt's 
two brothers-indaw, Copal and Van Loo, were 
present at the christening, together with Aeltgen 
Peters, Sylvius' widow. From this time for- 
ward Saskia's strength declined rapidly. We 
know from the etchings that in 1639 she had 
grown thin and ailing, and that her radiant expression had given 
place to an air of mournful foreboding. If we are to accept the 
testimony of the so-called Portrait of Saskia, dated 1641, in the 
Dresden Gallery (No. 1562 in the catalogue), she must have recovered 
for a while. The strongly illuminated face that confronts the spec- 
tator in this portrait beams with health ; the cheeks are round and 
blooming, the expression gay and untroubled. But the resemblance 
to Saskia is far from striking — the figure is fuller, and apparently 
taller. If she really sat for this picture we must look upon it as 
one of those studies Rembrandt was fond of making from his 
relatives and intimates, in which he took little pains to preserve 



1630 (B. 24). 



DEATH OF SASKIA 225 

mere likeness. A something akin to Saskia in tlie features suggests 
that the sitter may have been one of her sisters. But be this as 
it may, the same model undoubtedly served for another portrait 
rather more minute in treatment, painted by Rembrandt some 
few years earlier, between 1635 and 163S. It represents a young- 
woman putting the finishing touches to her toilet, and was lately 
purchased by Dr. Bredius, who at first took it to be a portrait of 
Saskia. The analogies between this and the Dresden picture are 
undeniable. I was struck by the likeness at first sight, and a careful 
comparison of photographs from the two subsequently confirmed my 
opinion. The shape of the face, the brow, nose, and mouth, are 
identical ; and the eyes have the same soft yet brilh'ant expression. 

Less than a year after the birth of Titus, Saskia's illness had 
reached a stage at which illusions as to her recovery were no longer 
possible. Feeling herself to be growing gradually weaker, she begged 
that a notary might be brought to her bedside, and on June 5, 1642, 
at nine o'clock in the morning, " in full possession of all her faculties," 
she gave him her last instructions in the presence of two witnesses. 
Yet she herself had not lost all hope, for in the will she dictated she 
speaks of other children that might be born to her. This will bears 
testimony to the affection and perfect mutual confidence between 
Rembrandt and Saskia. By it she made Rembrandt her sole heir, on 
condition that he should give Titus a suitable education and training, 
and either establish him in some profession, or sufficiently provide for 
him at his majority. At Rembrandt's death, or in the event of his 
second marriage, her fortune was to pass to Titus. She further 
directed that should Rembrandt survive their son, one half of her 
property should revert to her sister Hiskia, in the event of his second 
marriage. But she stipulated that no legal security should be taken 
for the carrying out of these provisions, having perfect confidence in 
her husband's honour, and " knowing that he would behave in the 
matter in exact obedience to his conscience." ^ As Titus's guardian 
he was to have the entire control of the property, for the disposition 
of which he was not to be called to account, and she begged the 
Chamber of Orphans to refrain from jurisdiction in the matter. 
At the end of this solemn deed, as if exhausted by the eftbrt, she 
signed her name for the last time, in the tremulous, almost illegible 
characters here reproduced. 

A few days later Saskia had passed away, and on June 19, 
Rembrandt, after follow- ^y. 



the house in the Bree- 'I i^^ '^ r I 

straat, where everything * * ^ 

reminded him of his short-lived happiness, and where he now 
found himself alone with a child of nine months old. B)- July 9 
he had made arrangements as to his wife's tomb, which resulted 

^ Scheltema, RcinbyanJt^ Diicours siir sa Vic. 1866. 



226 REMBRANDT 

in his purchase of the spot where she lay. On December 17, 1642, 
after the proving- of the will, the Chamber of Orphans authorised 
Rembrandt to take possession. In accordance with Saskia's direc- 
tions, in which her cousin and representative, Hendrick van Uylen- 
borch, fully concurred, no statement or inventory of any kind was 
demanded. This neglect on the part of Titus's natural protectors, 
together with the master's own unbusiness-like proclivities, brought 
countless difficulties upon him in after years. The feelings which 
influenced the relatives were natural enough, and may be explained 
both by their affection for Rembrandt and their reverence for 
Saskia's dying wishes. In the case of Hendrick van Uylenborch 
some personal consideration may have intervened. Hendrick, we 
know, was not only Rembrandt's friend, but his debtor. In a 
deed discovered by Dr. Bredius, dated 1640, he declares himself 
unable to repay a considerable sum of money advanced him by 
Rembrandt, Claes Moeyaert, and other artists, and offers as security 
for the loan a mortgage on his pictures and other effects. Under 
these circumstances he was not in a position to be exacting in his 
relations with one who was his own creditor. But such laxity had 
the natural effect of encouraging Rembrandt in his distaste for 
business details. He was now left absolute control of the common 
fund, whereas, had he been required to furnish an inventory of the 
estate, he must have realised his own position ; his son's rights would 
have been more clearly defined, and he would have been perhaps 
impelled to more careful administration of a fortune on which con- 
siderable inroads had already been made. Lacking these restraints, 
he gave way to his extravagant tendencies, and when, later on, it 
became necessary to give some approximate account of his financial 
position at the time of Saskia's death, he was obliged to resort to 
complicated inquiries and various costly proceedings. 

The loss of a wife he had dearly loved was not Rembrandt's 
only trouble at this period. He saw that his popularity was on 
the wane. He, who had been the most fashionable and the most 
famous of Dutch painters, was beginning to experience neglect. His 
eccentric attitude towards the distinguished society who had received 
him so warmly at first had estranged many from him. The Night 
Watch was destined to deal a fatal blow to his reputation, and to sensi- 
bly diminish his clientele. It is easy to understand the disastrous effect 
produced by this work. To begin with, his treatment of light was 
disconcertincr in the extreme to the averasfe Dutch mind — a mind 
pre-eminently sober and practical, which insisted on clarity and 
precision in all things. Secondly, those more immediately concerned 
in the matter naturally resented so audacious a divergence from 
traditional ideas. Rembrandt's work was not only a heresy in their 
eyes, it was little short of an impertinence. Relying on the ortho- 
dox precedents, each had paid for a good likeness of himself and a 
good place on the canvas. But the painter boldly ignored the terms 
of the tacit contract. The two officers prominent in the centre of the 



EFFECT PRODUCED BY "THE NIGHT WATCH" 227 

composition had, of course, nothing to complain of, and Banning 
Cocq himself seems to have been satisfied, or he would hardly have 
ordered the water-colour copy of the Night Watch already mentioned, 
nor would it have been preserved as an heirloom. But the rank and 
file, with the exception of some four or five members, had come off 
very badly ; and from their point of view these worthy folks had a 
distinct grievance against the master. Faces in deep shadow relieved 
by stray gleams of light, others scarcely visible, and others again so 
freely rendered as to be barely recognisable, were not at all to their 
taste. Disregarding what they conceived to be the established condi- 
tions of these portrait groups, the painter had sacrificed their person- 
alities to aesthetic considerations. His first care had been to compose 
a picture. Knowing Rembrandt's character, we may imagine that he 
met their representations with a scanty respect, and so increased their 
resentment. As he could not be induced to alter the picture, his out- 
raged models took refuge in the only consolation they had left. Failing 
their likenesses, they determined at least to preserve their names, and 
these were accordingly inscribed on a shield painted on the upper 
part of the canvas.^ The careless treatment of the picture, and the 
mutilation to which it was subjected, seem to show that Rem- 
brandt's contemporaries long cherished their resentment against 
him. It was reserved for posterity to vindicate the master, and to 
discount the passionate criticisms with which he was assailed in his 
lifetime. But after such a blow to their vanity the civic guards 
bestowed their patronage elsewhere. They knew that artists more 
docile and pliable were plentiful enough, even among Rembrandt's 
own pupils. His commissions fell off gradually from this time 
forward. Adversity, far from softening his character, gave a misan- 
thropic tinge to a disposition naturally somewhat morose. He had 
still a few faithful friends whose affection sustained him throuoh his 
sufferings ; but now, as ever, he found art his best consolation. For 
a time he had been utterly crushed by the overwhelming sorrow of 
his bereavement, but as he became calmer he turned eagerly to work, 
and sought refuge from solitude in occupation. Always sparing of 
speech, he found in art a silent but eloquent medium of expression. 
Though he produced fewer works between 1642 and 1645 than at any 
other time — the year 1644 in particular may be considered the least 
prolific of his life — yet we shall find, on enumerating the various works 
of this period, that their total is by no means inconsiderable. In the 
case of any other painter they would represent a very creditable 
activity, and it is only by comparison with Remljrandt's own extraor- 
dinary productiveness that they seem to fall short. 

His thoughts turned naturally to the ScriiHurcs. At this season of 
deep emotion he sought solace in his favourite book, and chose, among 
its countless episodes, those best attuned to his frame of mind. We 

1 This shield is somewhat later in style than the i)eiiod at which tlie yV7,V/// Watch 
was painted, and does not appear cither in Lundens' copy or in Mr. dc Graeff van 
Poelsbroeck's watcr-colonr. 



228 



REMBRANDT 



find the echo of his own melancholy in the themes he treats. The 
first is 3.or/sai7/e of 1642, the Descent from the Cross, a subject which 
further inspired a shght etching of this year(B. 82), and several draw- 
ings (notably that in the Stockholm Print Room), in which the 
sentiment of the scene is more fully and pathetically expressed. The 
grisaille, which is in the National Gallery, has, unfortunately, darkened 
a good deal. Its effects of light and shade are very elaborately studied. 
The three crosses dominate the scene from the left ; in the centre, 
surrounded by a crowd of indifferent spectators, a group of weepincr 
women tend the Virgin, who sinks back in a swoon ; across her knees 
lies the dead body of 
the Saviour, whose feet 
the kneeling Magdalene 











\x 



■^J 



bathes with tears. Rem- 
brandt's comprehension of 
g-rief such as this had be- 
come deeper and fuller 
than before. But his 
favourite themes at this 
period were those which 
recalled the happy days 
when Saskia was still with 
him. He had expressed 
his own joyful hopes in 
works such as the Car- 
pent ei's HouseJiold, the 
Meeting of St. Elizabeth 
and the Virgin, and 
JManoaJi s Prayer. In the 
Holy Families he painted 
at this period he gives 
utterance to his regrets. 
Mr. Bouo-hton Knight's 
undated example, which 
figured in the Winter Ex- 
hibition of 1882, is prob- 
ably the earliest of these. It seems to have been famous even in Rem- 
brandt's own times, for several of his pupils made copies of it. During 
the last century it belonged to the Duke of Orleans, and was engraved 
in the series of reproductions from works in his; collection, under the title 
of The Cradle. The handling is broad and free, but the colour has been 
very much darkened by the brown varnish overlying it. The scene is 
a Dutch interior ; the Virgin watches by the cradle of the Infant Jesus ; 
St. Anne is seated by her side reading a book, and a servant is engaged 
on some household task in the shadow beyond. The Holy Family in 
the Hermitage, an upright panel, signed, and dated 1645, introduces us 
to another humble home. The father, hatchet in hand, works at his daily 
task somewhat apart from the rest. The Virgin, who has been reading, 




THE WIDOWER. 

Pen drawing (Hesekine Collection). 



'' HOLY FAMILIES ' 



229 



has laid her book on her lap and gently draws aside the curtains of the 
little bed, displaying the sleeping Babe, fair and rosy in the warm, 
transparent shadow. A bevy of cherubs fluttering in a sunbeam above 
gaze admiringly at the tender scene. The composition has nothing of 
the sublime ; such a picture, with its somewhat vulgar types, would be 
out of place over an altar. But we must remember that it was painted 
for a Dutch home, and its glorification of toil and maternity responded 
to the ideals of the age and nation. To quote M. P. Mantz : " Here 
Rembrandt cast off the trammels of the text, enlareino- and 




THE ANGEL AIM'EAKING TO ST. JOEQFil. 

Pen drawing (Berlin Print Roor.;). 



modernising the theme. Even in painting a humble scene of every- 
day life such as this, he keeps the eternal truths of the spiritual life in 
view. In this masterpiece of tender expression every detail charms and 
touches — the sleeping child, the attitude and gesture of the mother, the 
sweet emotion of her gaze — the peaceful atmosphere of the scene in 
which the little drama — Dutch, yet universal — is enacted."^ In the 
Cassel Ho/y Family, the latest of the three, which was painted the 
following year, the composition is suggested by a practice, then very 
general in Holland, of protecting valuable pictures from the dust by 



' Lc Musie dt i En)tila\:^e ; text by P. Mant/, \i. 223. Ad. lliauii and Company. 



230 REMBRANDT 

means of a curtain.^ The scene represented by Rembrandt is supposed 
to be half concealed by the red drapery he has painted hanging from an 
iron rod. This is drawn aside to reveal a room, in which the Virgin 
is seated on a low chair, with the Infant Jesus in her arms. The Child 
caresses her face with both hands. His food is cooking on the embers 
beside them, and a cat sits demurely curled up on the hearth, expectant 
of her share. Beyond the group we see St. Joseph at his work, 
and in the shadowy background a bed, and the few utensils of the 
poor dwelling. Here we have none of the cheerful radiance of sun- 
light pouring in through open windows, and reflected from smiling 
landscapes beyond, which accentuated the joys of the Cai-penter s 
Household. The room is full of deep shadows, and the mysterious 
glow which relieves the group of persons, as yet obscure, the dim 
reflections here and there, indicating rather than revealing details, 
seem, in some indefinable fashion, to suggest the sufferings and the 
glory in store for the family. 

The Bible also furnished subjects for a pair of little pictures in the 
Berlin Museum, both signed, and dated 1645. ^ he qerm of one, the 
Angel warning Joseph to flee mto Egypt, is recognisable in a very 
hasty but superbly spirited sketch, also at Berlin (in the Print Room). 
The execution of the picture is somewhat coarse and careless ; the 
Virgin's figure is barely outlined, and the Infant Jesus on the straw 
beside her is shapeless and clumsy. But the composition as a whole is 
not wanting in grace, and the angelic apparition, as he softly approaches 
Joseph, illumines the miserable shed in which the travellers have taken 
refuge. The pendant, Tobit' s Wife zuith the Kid, of which there is a 
sketch in the Albertina, is a charming creation. It has deteriorated 
to a certain extent, unfortunately, like so many other works in the 
Crown collections of Prussia, which have suff"ered from the neglect 
with which they were treated in the royal residences, where they 
formerly hung. But in spite ot this, the limpid quality of the light 
and the delicacy of the execution recall like characteristics in the 
Philosophej's of the Louvre, save that the handling is freer in the 
Berlin picture. 

Two more important compositions of this period were also inspired 
by the Scriptures : Baron de Steengracht's Bathsheba, at the Hague, 
signed, and dated 1643, and the Woman taken in Adultery of the 
National Gallery, signed Rembrandt, and dated 1644. In the former, 
the master returns to the motive of the Susanna painted six years before. 
Bathsheba has just emerged from the bath ; sitting on an Eastern rug 
thrown over the edge of a raised terrace, she busies herself with her 
toilet. A golden ewer and basin are placed beside her. Her left hand 
is laid upon her breast, her right on the linen drapery across her 
legs. An old woman in a brown and violet dress, and a black hood 
with a gold embroidered veil, holds her right foot, and pares her nails. 
An attendant behind her conibs her lonof fair hair. The fio-ure of 

^ Other painters of the period, notably Jan Steen and Dou, used the same motive en 
several occasions. 



BIBLICAL COMPOSITIONS 231 

Bathsheba, with its delicate features and graceful limbs, recalls Saskia, 
but the contours, their elegance fully displayed by the attitude, are 
slenderer and more refined than hers. In the backcrround loftv buildiuQ-s 
are set against a deep blue sky, and a flight of wide steps leads down 
to the bath. On a high terrace to the left, David, himself concealed 
from view, contemplates the scene. This picture, which is in first-rate 
condition, is remarkable for the vigour of its effect, and the skill with 
which the execution is adapted to the dimensions. It is also one of 
the works in which the master has been most successful in his rendering 
of the beauty of woman. 

In the Woman taken in Adultery the handling is still more delicate 
and minute. There is a touch of affectation about the weeping 
sinner. She is evidently more overcome by the disgrace of discovery 
than by sorrow for her fault. A Jew who leads her, rejoicing at the 
capture, shows her triumphantly to the Saviour. The spectator's 
attention is riveted at once on the noble and beautiful face of Christ, 
framed in long flowing hair. His mild gaze is fixed on the prisoner 
with an expression of mournful pity ; those around look eagerly at 
Him, awaiting His words, moved by impulses the most diverse. 
Some are eager to entangle Him, or to lay the burden of decision 
on His shoulders ; others, confident in His mercy, hope for pardon. 
The Temple, and the High Priest's throne, sparkling with gold and 
jewels, recall the background of the Presentation of 1631 ; but the 
transparent tones are warmer, the shadows deeper and more mysterious, 
and the colours more brilliant in the lights. In the principal group, 
the purple-reds mingled with gold are very harmoniously contrasted 
with the yellowish browns and dull blues in the armour and doublet of 
one of the guards. 

The small number of portraits painted by Rembrandt at this 
period shows that he had to a certain extent lost favour with the 
public. On the other hand, we shall find that he produced a consider- 
able number of studies from friends or models. We fail, however, to 
recognise Saskia in a picture dated 1643, which the Berlin Catalogue 
asserts to be her portrait, painted either from memory or from a 
sketch made during her lifetime.^ Here again, the features seem to 
us coarser, the nose straighter, the mouth larger, and the type more 
robust than in the acknowledged portraits of Saskia. We are inclined 
to think that the face is more akin to that of the young woman in 
the Dresden Gallery, painted in 1641, which we have already had 
occasion to mention. But such vague likenesses are often deceptive. 
It will be safer to accept this work merely as a remarkably brilliant and 
broadly painted study. Others of the same class are the Girl at a 
Window in the Dulwich Gallery, and the graceful and pleasing 
study of a young girl in the black and scarlet uniform of the 
Amsterdam Municipal Orphanage. Both belong to the year 1645, 
the handling and the treatment of chiaroscuro being very characteristic 

' See No 812 in the Berlin Cataloc^ue. 



232 



REMBRANDT 



of the master's manner at this period. The second example, which 
has sHghtly deteriorated, belonged till quite recently to the Princess 
Demidoff, who sold it in America in 1S90. The JJ'oinan Weighing 
Gold, in the Dresden Gallery, is undoubtedly a work of Rembrandt's 
at this period, in spite of the clumsy forgery of the signature and the 
date 1643 on the upper part of the canvas. Though hardly one of his 
happiest inspirations, it is not unworthy of the master. The modelling 
lacks firmness here and there ; but in the refined tonality, the delicacy 
and truth of the chiaroscuro, the skilful drawing of the hands, in 
the happy juxtaposition of the tones, kneaded, as it were, in the 
full im]jasto, we recognise some of Rembrandt's most characteristic 
qualities. 

The so-called Connctabic dc Bourbon of 1644 is no doubt a portrait 
of some friend of the artist's. It was in the Secretan collection, at 

the sale of which it was 







v^'- *- 




bouo'ht bv Mr. Thieme, 
who lent it to the Exhi- 
bition of Old Masters 
held at Berlin in 1890. 
The powerful face is 
turned almost full to the 
spectator, and the strong- 
ly-marked features are set 
off by one of the fancy 
costumes dear to the 
artist — the black biretta, 
gold chain, and steel 
gorget worn by so many 
successiv^e models. The 
gesture of the extended 
hand, the illumination of 
the figure, the masterly 
freedom of the treatment 
at once recall the figure of Banning Cocq in the N'ig/it JVa/c/i. The 
Portrait of a Yonng Savant in Lord Cowper's collection at Panshanger is 
signed, and dated the same year, but Dr. Bode thinks it was probably 
executed a little later, an opinion he bases on the remarkable breadth 
of the execution. Dr. Bredius, for his part, inclines to the belief that 
Nicolaes Maes was Rembrandt's collaborator in this firmly modelled 
and luminous picture of a young man with long brown hair, in the act 
of rising- from his writing-table to take down a red cap from a hook on 
the wall. The Portrait of J. Cornelis Sylvius, formerly in the Fesch 
collection, where it was called a portrait of Justus Lipsiiis, and now 
the property of Mr. Carstanjen of Berlin, was painted seven years 
after the minister's death (it is dated 1645), probably for his widow, 
with whom, as we know, Rembrandt had always been on terms of 
attcction. Sylvius, whose beard has become W'hite, sits in an arm-chair, 
his head turned slio-fitlv to th(,' left. The severity of his black dress. 



THE h;k;. 
1643 (B. 157). 



STUDIES AND PORTRAITS OF WOMEN 



233 



over which he wears a velvet cloak trimmed with fur, accentuates the 
pallor of his long thin face. 

Together with these portraits of friends, we may mention a 
number of studies made at this period from old men, picked up, nc 
doubt, in the streets of the Jewish quarter. The Rabbi in the Berlin 
Museum, signed, and dated 1645, is a rendering, vigorous to the verge 
of coarseness, of a model whose features both master and pupil 
reproduced in several works. Another old man is the subject of a 
studv Q;reatly superior to this both in execution and condition, to which 
the catalogue of the Hermitage collection formerly gave the mis- 
leading title of MenasscJi ben Israel. The old man leans upon a 
stick, and makes a very imposing appearance in a plumed black 




STL-'DV MOM NAt IRE (I'IGS). 

Fan drawing (M. Leon Dor.nilX 



velvet cap, a red dress, and a fur-trimmed robe, fastened across the 
breast with a gold clasp. The sharply defined profile is strongly 
illuminated, and stands out in frank relief against an architectural 
background of yellowish brown. We may further enumerate two 
studies of a white-bearded oUl man, with regular features, and great 
nobilit)- of expression, ])ainted about this period, one in Lord 
Scarsdale's collection at Kcdleston Hall, the other in the Dresden 
Museum (No. 157 i in the catalogue). In the latter, the cloak and cap 
were unfortunately rc^painted by De Pesne in the last centur)-. 

Rembrandt's {portraits of old women generally show his powers at 
their greatest, and the fme (^\■ample in the llcrmitage, known as 
Reuibyandl s Mother, fully bears out this assertion. I am at a loss 



234 



REMBRANDT 



to understand why the signature and the date 1643 upon it should 
have been called in question. Both seem to me obviously genuine. 
I am inclined, however, to reject the title. The type is certainly not 
that familiar to us in the master's youthful etchings and paintings.-' 
It is, however, a venerable face, and the expression is full of kindly 
shrewdness. Judging by the costume — a crimson velvet cape em- 
broidered with gold, a dress of violet satin, opening over a finely 
pleated chemisette, a black mantle bordered with fur, and trimmed, 
like the bodice, with large gold ornaments — we should imagine it to 
be a study, rather than a portrait painted on commission. The hands, 
in one ot which the old lady holds a silver-mounted eyeglass, are 
crossed over a book upon her lap ; a small leathern pouch hangs on 
the wall beside her ; her stick, a girdle, and a metal bowl are laid on 
a slab within reach. The whole is painted with extraordinary care 
and mastery, the touch — smooth and supple in the satins, rich and 
mellow in the velvets, sharp and brilliant in the gold and jewels — 
adapting itself to every variety of texture. Its extreme dexterity is 
most apparent, however, in the illusory rendering of the wrinkled skin, 
firm as yet, but about to wither. 

Exquisite as is the technique in the portrait of Elizabeth Bas, 
bequeathed to the Ryksmuseum in 1880, by Mr. J. S. H. van de 
Pool, it is altogether lost sight of in the profound impression produced 
by the creation as a whole. By far the most remarkable portrait 
painted by Rembrandt at this period, it fairly claims to rank among 
his great masterpieces. Elizabeth Bas, widow of the Admiral J. Hen- 
drick Swartenhout, belonged herself to a family of no great importance. 
But by her marriage with one of those heroic sailors who contributed 
so largely to the glory and prosperity of Holland, she had been 
admitted to the most distinguished society of Amsterdam. Thanks to 
a robust constitution, she retained the vigour and dignity so admirably 
rendered by the master to an advanced age. Born in 157 1, she 
appears to have been from seventy-two to seventy-five years old 
when the portrait was painted. The character of the execution also 
points to the approximate date to which we think the portrait may be 
assigned, viz. 1 643-1 646. It is a three-quarters length of an old 
lady, seated, and facing the spectator. Her black dress is marked by 
the subdued elegance proper to her rank and age. A closely fitting 
white cap with semicircular ear-pieces surrounds the face, showing 
the roots of the hair in front, and the whiteness of the large gauffered 
ruft is mitigated by the pronounced shadow cast by the head. In spite 
of her yellow complexion and parchment skin, the old lady's bearing 
is still erect and stately. On a table covered with a green cloth 
beside her lies a large clasped book, doubtless a bible. She seems 
to have just closed it, and to be meditating on what she has read. 
The small deep-set eyes twinkle keenly under the drooping lids, with 
an expression denoting a profound knowledge of life ; the strongly 

^ The model in this portrait of 1643 (a date confirmed by the handUng) is, in fact, 
younger than Rembrandt's mother as she appears in the early works. 



Portrail of /{/izalnih />as (ixboul 1643). 



(AMSTl- NliAM KVK'.MU'iKI'M.) 




Pr.ntrd bv Chandon Wiltm/inn P.i-,t, f!cancc) 



ETCHINGS OF THIS PERIOD 235 

marked chin, the thin compressed Hps, proclaim a firm will and 
energetic character. The vigorous contours, sharply defined against 
the neutral background, the close, incisive drawing, the truth of the 
modelling, the decision of the accents, the extreme frankness of the 
intonations, even the choice of attitude, all combine to suggest the 
individuality of the sitter. These qualities in the painter's handiwork 
reflect her simplicity and uprightness, her good sense and moral vigour, 
the indefinable air of trenchant determination that characterised her. 
We see her to have been a woman, at once kindly and keen-sighted, 
whose confidence was not lightly bestowed, whose affections were deep, 
but discriminating. We imagine her to have combined with the 
orderly and economical instincts of her hereditary status an innate 
dignity and nobility that enabled her to take her place as by right 
among the members of a patrician caste. Greatly as Rembrandt 
excelled in the renderino- of those essential traits that character 
and habit stamp on a human face, he never gave more eloquent 
expression of his powers than in this masterpiece of sincerity and 
divination. 

Contrary to his usual custom, the painter rarely took himself for his 
model at this period. The study of a head in the Dresden Gallery, 
dated 1643, and representing a young warrior with a long thin face, 
who wears the familiar steel gorget, and a small cap on his flowing 
hair, bears but a shadowy resemblance to Rembrandt. The in- 
significance of the type and a certain tameness in the execution seem 
to justify the doubts expressed by some critics as to its authenticity. 
The master is easily to be recognised, however, in a portrait at 
Buckingham Palace, a carefully finished work, in which he has painted 
himself in a red dress and black cloak, a cap on his head. Only the 
first three figures of the date, 164-, are now legible. As Dr. Bode 
observes, Rembrandt has aged considerably, and his features are much 
altered since his last rendering of himself, the portrait of 1640, in the 
National Gallery. The signs of advancing age are still more apparent 
in the contemporary portrait at Carlsruhe, painted about 1645. The 
master was nearing his fortieth year ; the lines in his face are deeper ; 
toil and sorrow have set their marks there. The persistent con- 
centration of his gaze has deepened the furrow between the brows. 
The fires of passion and youthful pride have died out in the eyes ; 
they have a sad and anxious expression. The moustache has dis- 
appeared, the hair is cropped and begins to grow scanty, falling away 
from the broad and noble brow, beneath which such a world ot 
thoLio-ht and imacrination lies concealed. 

1 he etchings of this period are comparatively few and unimportant. 
They include several rapid sketches, scratched on the first plate that 
came to hand, such as the Travelling Peasants (B. 131), executed 
about 1643, ^ spirited study, in which the progression of the figures 
is very skilfully suggested. The Hog (B. 157), signed, and dated 1643 
— we reproduce the study for this plate in I\I. Bonnat's collection — is 
a bucolic tragedy the master may often have seen enacted in the 



236 



REMBRANDT 



country. Bound, and laid on his side, the animal contemplates the 
preparations for his execution. He is fatted to a turn, and hope 
is no longer possible : his hour has come. Children crowd round 
him, rejoicing' at the prospect of the approaching feast, with all the 
callousness of youth ; a peasant already sharpens the fatal knife. In 
1644 we have only one work to record. The Shepherd and his Family 
(B. 220), a little composition hastily sketched on a plate containing 
several other studies. The shepherd stands beside his wife, who 
suckles her child on the bank of a stream from which some goats 
are drinking. Several sacred subjects bear the date 1645, among 

them the Abraham with 
his son Isaac (B. 34), a 
plate remarkably simple 
and unloaded in workman- 
ship, yet full of colour, 
owing to the masterly 
distribution of the 
shadows, and the vivacity 
with which differences of 
surface and texture are 
suggested bythehandling. 
The St. Peter of 1645 
(B. 96) failed in the 
biting, and the impres- 
sions are very faint. 
The same may be ob- 
served of a Riposo of the 
same year (B. 58), in 
which the Virgin is re- 
presented gently raising 
a veil that covers the 
Infant Jesus, to show him 
to Joseph. The latter, 
seated beside her, turns 
from his meal to look at 
the sleeping Child ; a 
bird and his mate on the 
tree above them warble an accompaniment to the idyll. The Phi/oso- 
pher Aleditating {V). 148), an old man with his hands upon a book, is 
neither siofned nor dated. Its analoq-ies of execution with the fore- 
going are, however, so marked that it may safely be assigned to 
this period. 

Such hasty works as these were Rembrandt's amusements, a 
record of fugitive impressions by a process he had completely 
mastered. His productiveness had been so incessant hitherto that 
he may well have felt a certain weariness at this juncture, and in spite 
of his philosophy he had been greatly shaken by Saskia's death. It 
seems probable that the poor recluse felt that yearning for rest and 




AEI'.AMAM WITH HIS SOX ISAAC. 

1645 (D. 34). 



REMBRANDT S TREATMENT OF LANDSCAPE 



237 



refreshment which draws so many stricken souls to the fields and 
woods. Or it may be that Titus — who, to judge by his portraits, 
was never robust — required country air. Whatever the cause, 
studies of landscape become very frequent in his ceuvrc from this 
time onward. Rembrandt had always loved natural scenery, as the 
numerous works by landscape painters included in his inventory 
attest. It was no doubt while still living in his native town that 
he bought sea pieces and views of the dunes by Jan Percellis, who 
was living in seclusion near Leyden, and by Percellis' brother-in-law, 
H. van Anthonissen, who sojourned for a time at Leyderdorp before 
settling in Amsterdam. Besides the works of these masters, he 
owned grisailles by Simon de Vlieger, views of the Tyrol by 




i I K S B K I D r; K. 
1645 (E. 2o3). 



Roelandt Savery, landscapes by his friend Lievens, and by Govert 
Jansz, an artist of some note in his day, none of whose works have 
survived, and, further, eight pictures by Hercules Seghers, whose 
originality and ingenuity in experiment influenced the master himself 
very considerably, as we shall find later. In Leyden itself, landscape- 
painters such as Aernout Elzevier, Conracdt Schilperoort, the some- 
time master of Van Goyen, and Van Goyen himself, flourished 
during Rembrandt's youth. The last married at Leyden in 16 18, 
and lived there till 163 1, the year when Rembrandt removed to 
Amsterdam. 

These men, together with Esaias van de Velde, Pieter Molyn, and 
Salomon van Ruysdael, were the pioneers of landscape-painting in 
Holland Rembrandt had learnt to admire their novel methods 
amidst those very scenes in which some of them hail Ww.w formed. His 



J3S 



REMBRANDT 



own walks and studies in the neighbourhood of Leyden enabled him to 
appreciate their talent and their sincerity. His instinctive sympathies 
were with them, but, as we know, the course of his early develop- 
ment was largely determined by the teachings of Swanenburch and 
Lastman. He was able to find types for many of the personages in 
his Biblical scenes in the Jewish colony among which he lived. But 
the landscape of his native country was altogether out of harmony 
with such episodes, and he felt he must look elsewhere for a setting. 
His anxiety to localise the scenes he loved to treat sent him to the 
works of his predecessors, the Italianisers, and from them he borrowed 
many of the picturesque details they had adapted from the landscapes 
of Italy. In his desire for accuracy, Rembrandt, who had never been 
out of Holland, relied on their pictures or engravings for the 
mountains, rocks, and buildings which seemed to him best suited 
to his respective subjects. 

Thus his allegiance was divided between the two conflicting ten- 
dencies in Dutch art at that period. Loving truth, but venerating the 
traditions of "great art," so called, it was some time before his genius 
emancipated itself from the spells of legend, and gained the independ- 
ence necessary to its full development. The struggle between the 
two influences, of which he himself was hardly conscious, perhaps, is 
nowhere so apparent as in his landscapes. With equal persistency 
and sincerity, he strove to reconcile the opposing forces of the 
national school, hesitating for a while to declare himself on either side. 
But from this time forth "he recognised how infinite were the resources 
offered him by nature for the expression of his thought, and gradually 
landscape played a part more and more important in his works, as we 
notice in the Rape of Proserpine of the Berlin Museum, the Snsanna 
of the IMauritshuis, the Noli me Tangere of Buckingham Palace, and 
the Bathsheba of the Steengracht collection. A small picture, painted 
about 1640, formerly in the Choiseul gallery, and now in the possession 
of Sir Robert Peel' attests the growing importance of the landscape 
in his compositions. The subject is Moses discovered by Pharaolis 
Daughter, but the figures are hardly more than accessories. The 
princess and her attendants are almost lost in the deep shadows 
overhanging the stream, on which the child floats in the ark of 
bulrushes. The vegetation, it is true, is not very carefully rendered. 
The innumerable commissions with which Rembrandt was over- 
whelmed on his arrival at Amsterdam left him little leisure to study 
nature in the surrounding country. Even in his pure landscapes of 
this period, convention takes the place of direct observation, and the 
painter's reliance on an accepted ideal is very apparent. ^ Simplicity 
is openly disregarded in these early essays, the complexity of which 
was well adapted to the prevailing taste. 

In what strange country, we may not unreasonably wonder, did 
the painter study the scenery of his Storm, a landscape in the Bruns- 
wick Gallery, painted about 1640? The motives evidently belong to 
a land of dreams. The master has allowed imagination to run riot. 



REMBRANDT'S PAINTED LANDSCAPES 239 

treating his subject mainly as a pretext for those oppositions of light 
and shadow he loved to render. Heavy clouds rising from the right 
of the picture overcast the sky, and hang threateningly on the horizon. 
A watery light gleams on the walls of a town, across a stretch of 
fallow land, and on the tops of trees, quivering to the first gusts of 
the tempest. All around are watercourses pouring in torrents down 
the slopes, leaping in cascades from rock to rock, and dashing their 
foam into the air. Mountains which seem to set the laws of 
equilibrium at defiance rise in chaotic masses one above the other 
throughout the rugged landscape. In such visions the recluse would 
seem to have sought indemnity for his sedentary, habits. As he 
painted he felt himself transported to the fantastic regions of his 
dreams ; the vast plains of Holland gave place to giant mountains, the 
vivid greens of her trees and pastures to warm yellows and russets. 
The Mountainous Landscape of Lady Wallace's collection, a work 
contemporary with the Storm, is hardly less peculiar. The contrasts 
are less violent, but that conflict between light and shadow, the 
mysterious poetry of which the master so often rendered, is again the 
principal theme. In certain portions the warm brownish ground, 
which barely covers the panel, has been left, and gives the prevailing 
tone of colour, by which means an effect of perfect unity has been 
won. At a first glance the composition seems very simple ; but on 
closer examination the transparent depths of shadow reveal a mass 
of details unnoticed before. The perspective stretches away into 
infinity ; the planes develope before the spectator's eye. Streams of 
water pursue their various courses, intersecting each other here and 
there; and in the landscape the eye gradually discovers a great diversity 
of character and cultivation : fields, with the corn in sheaf; a town; a 
fortified castle, with moat and drawbridge; a village; a few scattered 
houses; clumps of trees; roads with passing carriages; and a man in 
a red cap, leaning on a stick, his servant beside him holding a couple 
of hounds in leash. In a large composition, dated 1638, in the 
Czartorisky Museum at Cracow, in its pendant, owned by Mr. von Rath 
at Budapest, and in several smaller works, such as the Landscape at 
the Mouth of a River, in the Oldenburg Museum, Lord Lansdowne's 
Canal, and a still smaller panel belonging to Lord Northbrook, we 
note the same contrasts of light and shadow, the same magical 
chiaroscuro, the same conglomerate of slightly incongruous elements. 
The combination of incoherence in the composition with precision in 
the treatment of light, of careful imitation with flights of pure fantasy, 
proclaim the conflict in Rembrandt's mind between opposing influ- 
ences and the eagerness with which he strove to reconcile the visions 
that haunted him with the realities he loved. 

Whether Rembrandt recognised his own shortcomings, or whether 
he had now more leisure for such studies, it is evident at least that he 
beoan to show an increasing sense of their fascination. In strikino 
contrast with his painted landscapes, his drawings and etchings of this 
period deal with the simplest aspects of nature, and record the most 



240 



REMBRANDT 



naive impressions. Audacious and complex as he showed himself in 
composition, in the presence of nature no motive was too humble for 
him. Beauties revealed themselves to him in the most modest 
themes, and he set himself to express them with the frankness of a 
child. Everything around him afforded subjects for study, and he w^as 
never without a note-book in which to jot down his passing im- 
pressions. His walks in the Amsterdam streets provided the material 
for countless sketches, swift records of characteristic features and effects, 
in which we recognise the canals of the city, their bridges, the houses 
along the quays, the Montalban Tower, the ramparts, the shores of 
the Y, or perhaps some momentary effect of light, a stray sun- 
beam in some shadowy interior. Among the studies of this period 

there are also several on 
which he has bestowed 
more time and labour. 
The fine drawino- heisrht- 
ened with bistre in the 
Albertina, a view of the 
Rokin with its rows of 
houses, was probably 
executed durinor the last 
years of Rembrandt's 
sojourn on the Binnen- 
Amstel, perhaps from his 
own window. In the 
background is the former 
Bourse, and in the fore- 
ground the sheet of water 
formed by the Amstel, 
dotted with boats, some 
moored, some in motion. 
Every detail adds to the 
impression of reality, the 
happy choice of motive, 
the correctness of the 
planes, the perfect truth of the values. His wanderings in the vicinity 
of the town were frequent and varied, and everywhere he found 
subjects for his pencil — now a strip of hedge, a wooden shed, a group 
of cottages among clustering trees ; now a village in perspective, or the 
distant spires of Amsterdam above the horizon. The incisive firm- 
ness of these sketches is in curious contrast with the uncertain and 
faulty construction of his painted landscapes. The trees, however, 
betray an inexperienced hand ; their outlines against the sky are 
rendered by a series of shapeless scribbles, the strokes of which have 
a wearisome monotony and regularity, as if drawn by rule. He shows 
greater facility in studies of tree-trunks, and seems to have early 
perceived their aesthetic value in his compositions. In a drawing we 
borrow from the Duke of Devonshire's collection, probably executed 




THE GROTTO. 

1645 (B. 231). 



REMBRANDT'S ETCHED LANDSCAPES 



241 



about 1635, we note, side by side with trees the foHage of which 
is singularly tame and uniform in rendering, an old willow-stump 
introduced by the master in his etching St. Jerome (1648, B. 103), and 
later in the St. Francis (1657, B. 107). It also figures to the left 
in the Vieiu of Omval (B. 209). He was encouraged in such 
studies by his perception of the great advantages to be derived from 
them in future pictures. Etchings made from such sketches, or 
drawn from nature on the copper, become more and more numerous, 




THE THREE TREES. 

1643 (B. 213). 



attesting both his delight In the work and the rapid progress resulting 
therefrom. 

The first pure landscape among Rembrandt's etchings, the Land- 
scape zuit/i a Cozu, dated 1634 (B. 206), is rejected by Mr. Middleton- 
Wake, though duly signed with the monogram used by the master at 
the period. I see no reason whatever, for my own part, to suspect the 
authenticity of the plate, which, though unimportant, is closely allied 
in execution to other etchings of the same date. Two undated 
landscapes may perhaps be assigned to about 1640 ; one, the Landscape 
with a House and a large Tree by it (B. 207), is of little interest ; the 
oihcr, the View of Amsterdam (B. 210), is remarkable for its deli- 
cate workmanship, and for the skill with which Rembrandt has ex- 
pressed the gradual reduction of the planes, conjuring up infinite 
space on a narrow strip of [)apcr. I am once more at a loss 



242 REMBRANDT 

to imagine why Mr, Middleton-Wake contests the authenticity of 
the Large Landscape zvith a Cottage and a Hay -barn (B. 225), which 
is signed, and dated 1641, hke the Large Landscape, with a Mill-sail 
seen above a Cottage (B. 226), with which its analogies are very 
marked, not only in choice of motive, but in treatment and dimen- 
sions,^ The methods used to indicate distance — especially to the left 
of the first-named plate — and those employed in the foreground are 
identical with those of the undisputed plate, and a like facility and 
knowledge of effect in each, seem to proclaim them fruits of the 
same stage of progress. The plate known as Renibrandf s Mill (B. 
233), which is signed and dated like the above, is still more remarkable 
for the vio^our of the drawing^.- The absence of ves^etation detracts 
somewhat from the interest ; but the character of the crazy buildings 
is indicated with extreme precision and firmness. It is hardly 
necessary to remark that the title rests on no sort of foundation, and is 
but another example of those arbitrary designations so often noted in 
these pages. The Cottage luith White Pales (B. 232) is marked by the 
same sobriety of technique, but shows considerable progress in the 
treatment of foliage, and achieves an effect of great reality by very 
simple means. But Rembrandt's claims to rank among the great 
masters of landscape were first made good in the famous piece known 
as the Three Trees (B. 212). In this impressive plate, every detail 
suggests conflict and struggle — the fitful gleams of light, the dense 
shadows that gather menacingly round them, the plain on which the 
waters are about to descend in floods, the trees, stretching out gnarled 
branches, stripped by the fury of the winds, the clouds that chase and 
meet each other in fierce encounter against a sky streaked by the first 
drops of the storm that bursts on the horizon. The bold contrasts and 
fiery execution well express this fierce aspect of nature, and a significant 
detail betrays the passion and impetuosity with which the work was 
carried out. Among the gathered clouds vague outlines of heads and 
limbs are distinguishable, survivals apparently of some earlier sketch 
which Rembrandt did not trouble himself to efface, in his eagerness to 
record the effect which appealed so strongly to his imagination. 

From this time forth Rembrandt's slightest sketches bear the impress 
of his genius. In a few rapid strokes he conjures up some pregnant 
suggestion of nature's infinite diversities, with a suppleness and pre- 
cision alike marvellous, seizing with infallible instinct the character- 
istic features of each image he presents to us. Three etchings of the 
year 1645, though inspired by very different motives, are marked 
by the same extraordinary truth of expression. One of these, Sixs 
Bridge (B. 208), has, as its title proclaims, its legend, an invention 
probably, like so many others, of the last century. According to the 

^ The forms of the R and the b in the signature, and of the 4 in the date, are very 
characteristic, and are exactly reproduced on various other plates of the period, notably 
that of the Man icith a Crucifix mid Chain (B. 261), another work of 1641. 

- In composition it is, /whoever, loithout the balance of a picture. Its reputation is 
perhaps by this time on the wane. — F. W. 



"A WINTER SCENE" 



243 



tradition, Rembrandt executed the plate on the occasion of a visit 
to the Burgomaster Six at Hillegom, while waiting for the return 
of a servant, who had been despatched to the neighbouring village 
to fetch some mustard for breakfast. The rapidity of the execution 
no doubt gave colour to this absurd fable. But the etching, in any 
case, is evidently a study from nature, and with the simple means 
employed it would be impossible to give a more exact and character- 
istic rendering of a certain aspect of Dutch scenery. A plain stretches 
away in infinite perspective ; a village is faintly indicated ; the waters 
have risen to the level of the banks, and meander in scattered streams 
over the land ; in the distance are sailing ships that seem to be 




A WINTER SCENE. 

1646 (Cassel Museum). 



advancing upon the meadows. The execution, though hasty, is very 
decisive, and has a singular charm. In the Vic7u of O nival (R. 209) 
Rembrandt appears to have again used a plate on which he had 
already made a drawing. A young man, who places a wreath of 
flowers on the head of a young woman seated beside him in the 
shadow, appears to the left of the willow-stump already mentioned.^ 
Working over the original sketch in part, Rembrandt incorporated 
it with the delicate background to the right, where he has introduced 
a village, supposed to be Omval, the houses, workshops, windmills, 

^ This plate is signed Rembrandt^ iike the Abraham with his son Isaac, a work of the 
same year (1645). 

R 2 



244 



REMBRANDT 



and boats of which are picturesquely disposed along the Amstel. 
The skilful blending of the two sections conceals the fact of their 
having been brought together by an afterthought, to disguise which 
the reeds, trefoils, and grasses of the foreground have lent their aid. 
The third of the plates, dated 1645, is that variously known as The 
Watering-place, The Boat-house, and The Grotto (B. 231). Here 
again we have a mass of vegetation clothing the steep banks of a 
watercourse, and Rembrandt's facile point has admirably suggested 




A VIKW OF OMVAL. 

1645 (B. 200). 



the luxuriant herbage of damp soil in this shady spot, where nature's 
grace and bounty are manifest in the minutest details/ 

Rembrandt had now completed his apprenticeship in landscape 
art. From this time forth the contrast we have noted between the 
incoherence of his pictures and compositions in this genre, and the 
perfection of his drawings and sketches from nature, gradually dis- 

^ Dissenting from Bartsch and Charles Blane, Mr. Middleton-Wake holds that this 
plate exists only in one state, and that variations in the different imjiressions which those 
writers took to be proofs of a second state are due simply to inequalities in the printing. 
But traces of the scraper, and of various retouches, are very apparent in an impression 
cf the second state in the Bibliothl'qtie Nationale. 



REMBRANDT'S MILL" 



245 



appears. A small panel in the Cassel Museum, a IViuter Scene, 
signed, and dated 1646, has all the vivid and sudden quality of a 
sketch from nature, reproducing with absolute sincerity a simple 
motive, painted in a few minutes from a scene before the artist's eyes. 
The impression of the cold light of a winter afternoon, on a frozen 
canal where skaters disport themselves, is rendered with singular 
animation, and the little picture has all the spirit and actuality of the 
master's best etchings. Several studies of a like nature, which have 
unfortunately disappeared, are included in his inventory, and we have 
yet to mention a more important work, which combines the realism 
of this example with a higher imaginative quality. In such congenial 
studies Rembrandt found distraction from his griefs and disappoint- 
ments, a renewal of his powers, and a further development of his 
genius. He still looked at nature with a poet's eyes, but the hand 
with which he interpreted her had acquired the facility, the assurance, 
and the technical accomplishment that proclaim a master. 




REMPRANHTS MILL. 

.641 (b. 83;). 



DRAWING, WASHED WITH INDIAN INK 

(British Museum.) 



CHAPTER XV 




PERIOD OF GREAT ACTIVITY FROM 1 646 TO 1654 — LIFE-STUDIES 'SUSANNA AND 

THE elders' (1647) — REMBRANDT'S TECHNK^UE — 'THE GOOD SAMARITAN'" AND 
•the disciples AT EMMAUS ' (1648) — 'PORTRAIT OF TURENNE ' (1649) — 'THE 
VISION OF DANIEL'; ' ABRAHAM AND THE ANGELS ' ; ' NOLI ME TANG ERE ' (1651) — 
ETCHINGS OF THIS PERIOD : THE ' HUNDRED GUILDER PRINT ' AND ' THE LITTLE 
TOMH.' 

REMBRx'\NDT, as we see, had, to a 
certain extent, shaken off the deep 
depression that had overwhelmed him 
after the death of Saskia. An intimate com- 
munion with nature had invigorated his genius, 
and in resuming the labours that had become 
a necessity to him, he soon felt the benefit of 
his earnest studies. The loneliness of his 
position had this advantage, at least — that it 
enabled him to devote himself more ardently 
than ever to his work — and the period we 
are about to deal with was one of the 
most productive of his busy life. In returning to the Scriptural 
subjects he preferred to all others, he sought satisfaction alike for 
his active imagination and his creative passion. The infinite variety 
ot these subjects harmonised with the diversity of his own im- 
pressions, and he interpreted their emotional aspects with equal 
sincerity and penetration. He now received a fresh commission from 
Prince Frederick Henry. Though he had lost his popularity with the 
public, he was still appreciated by the Prince, who, though already 
the owner of five pictures by him, wished for two more. The 
price paid for these is an interesting proof of the Prince's growing 
respect for his powers. In a draft dated November 29, 1646, 
Frederick Henry commands that a sum of 2400 florins be paid to 
Rembrandt for the pair. It will be remembered that the price paid for 
the two pictures of the same dimensions delivered to the Stathouder 



AN OLD MAN, WITHOUT A BEAKU. 

About 1635 (B. 299). 



LIFE-STUDIES 247 

in 1639 was just a half of this, while in 1645 he had also bought two 
important pictures by Rubens, who had lately died, and whose works 
were in great request, for the sum of 2100 florins. Of one of the 
works painted for the Prince, the Circujjicisioii, no trace is to be found. 
It had disappeared before the removal of the Electoral collection from 
Diisseldorf to the Munich Pinacothek. 

The other, an Adoration of the Shepherds, now in the Pinacothek, 
has suffered severely from the effects of time. This is the more to be 
regretted, as the subject was one peculiarly adapted to Rembrandt's 
manner, and he had bestowed great care upon it. Not only did he make 
an elaborate study of its effects and arrangement in the fine pen and 
wash drawing now in Mr. Heseltine's collection, but he also painted a 
replica, with a few slight modifications, which bears the same date, 
1646. It is now in the National Gallery. The conception is much on 
the lines of Correggio's Notte in the Dresden Gallery. As in the 
Italian master's work, the illumination of the central group proceeds 
almost entirely from the Infant Saviour. This light, resplendent 
with vivid red and deep golden tones, gradually melts away into 
the surrounding gloom of the humble shed. Some few articles 
of rustic furniture, and the silhouettes of crouching cattle, are dis- 
tinguishable in the shadows. Mysterious reflections gleam through the 
semi-transparent darkness on the faces of the shepherds, who draw 
near to join the Virgin and the kneeling St. Joseph in adoration 
of the new-born Babe. 

The Susanna and the Elders of 1647^ ^^ ^ striking instance of 
Rembrandt's versatility, and of the ease with which he now approached 
the most diverse subjects, preserving the essential character of each. 
The episode was one which specially attracted him, by the oppor- 
tunity it afforded for the treatment of the nude. His technical 
equipment was now so complete, that he might, like so many others, 
have relied in future on the resources at his command, taking counsel 
with nature only when projecting or executing a picture. But we 
shall find him not only consulting realities at times of special need, 
but devoting himself unweariedly to studies, the one object of which 
was his further instruction and improvement. The numerous " aca- 
demies " executed at this period witness to the delight he took in these 
disinterested studies. Several of these drawings from male and female 
models belong to the Louvre and the Bibliotheque Nationale, others 
to Mr. Heseltine and M. Leon Bonnat. A model of frequent occur- 
rence among them is a slender youth, whose long thin limbs have not 
attained their full development. Such a type was valuable as eJiabling 
the painter to observe the play of bones and muscles, and their exact 
positions in action. In the matter of feminine models, he had perforce 
to content himself with the few among that decorous nation who could 
be induced to pose in a studio. The types and forms available were 

^ This picture belonged to Sir Joshua Reynolds, and in later times to Sir Ed. 
Lechmere, from whose collection it passed to the Berlin Gallery in 1SS3. 



24^ 



Rf:MBRANDT 



therefore far from elegant, yet the master reproduced them with the 
most scrupulous exactitude, abating nothing of their ugliness. The 
sincerity of these studies is only to be equalled by their facility of 
execution. The figure is sketched in with a few strokes of the pen ; 
a slioht wash of sepia or Indian ink is then employed for the modelling 
which is carried out with the utmost delicacy and precision, every 
inflection beins;" carefully followed with extraordinary perception of 

values. Rembrandt had 
gradually acquired an ab- 
solute mastery of such 
effects ; the two etchings 
dated 1646, of which we 
give facsimiles (B. 193 
and 195), may be ex- 
amined as typical ex- 
amples of that close and 
nervous draughtsman- 
ship, which enabled the 
master to indicate, not 
only the silhouette, but 
the structure and effects 
of a subject, wMth a few 
strokes of the point, and 
this with faultless ac- 
curacy and precision. 
Such studies were not in- 
variably sketched directly 
on the plate. One of the 
two etchings reproduced 
was preceded by a draw- 
ing from nature, now in 
the Bibliotheque Na- 
tionale. But very often 
the subject was sketched 
on the copper without 
any preparation, some- 
times on the unoccupied 
corner of a partially 
covered plate, such as 
that (B. 194) on which 
two of these life-studies 
are drawn side by side with a sketch of an old woman bending down 
to play with a child in a go-cart. Another etching, the Rembi^aiidt 
draiving from a Model (B. 192), was executed, probably in 1647, 
from a sketch in the British Museum — in which the composition is 
therefore reversed — which represents the master in his studio, drawing 
from a nude female model. The background only was finished, prob- 
ably by one of Rembrandt's pupils. The figures of the woman, who 




AN ACADEMICAL FIGURE OF A IIAN. 
1646 (B. 193). 




Study for the Etched -Life Study of a 
Yoinii^- Afaii" (1646). 



I'cn aiul \\ a.-ili. 

(uiULIOTHEgUE NATIONAl.E.) 



"SUSANNA AND THE ELDERS" 



249 



holds a palm-branch in her hand, and of the artist, who is seated on 
a little stool in front of her, are merely indicated. 

The composition of the Susanna Rembrandt had treated not only in 
several sketches, but in two painted studies. To judge by that of the 
Lacaze collection in the Louvre, the model was far from seductive. 
Her body is badly formed, her legs thin and bowed. The 
original of M. Leon Bonnat's oval panel — a little brunette with 
luxuriant hair, a large mouth, a thick flat nose, and black eyes — 
has a fair share of that beautd du diable proper to her extreme 
youth. The technique of this study is superb, and the glow and 




SUSANNA AND TMK ELDRRS. 

1647 (Berlin Museum). 



texture of the flesh, fihivering as it encounters the cold water, are 
rendered with extraordinary power. In the Berlin picture, the type has 
been further refined, and is not without grace, though it hardly attains 
to beauty. The young woman, about to enter a bath hollowed out 
among the rocks, is seized by one of the elders, an evil-looking old 
man. He tries to snatch away the last vestige of her raiment ; 
another old man, whose face has an expression of profound cunning, 
advances from his ambush to his accomplice's aid. Thus surprised, 
the young woman turns towards the spectator in terror and amaze- 
ment. Above the bath, on the edge of which is perched a peacock, 



250 REMBRANDT 

flowers, creepers, and the branches of trees increase the decorative 
effect of the lofty buildings in the background. Above them all rises 
a tower with an imposing clerestory ; below is a building with gilded 
capitals, a portico, and a terrace adorned with statues. The bather's 
garments lie on the circular stone bench at the edge of the bath ; they 
consist of a scarf with golden tassels, and a dress of heavy material, the 
skirt a magnificent purple, the bodice a deeper shade, trimmed with 
golden ornaments. These vivid tones are enhanced by the neutral 
gray of the sky and the stone, the deep green of the trees, and the 
strong yellows of the bushes, and throw the dazzling whiteness of 
Susanna's body into forcible relief. The abrupt inflection of the left 
leg is unpleasant ; but, on the other hand, the upper part of the body, 
and the gesture of the hand, are instinct with youthful grace and 
modesty. In several early pictures — notably in the Susanna of the 
Mauritshuis, and the Bathshcba of the Steengracht collection — 
Rembrandt had sought to express the harmonious splendours of that 
Biblical East which appealed so strongly to his imagination. But 
never had he rendered it with such a wealth of magnificent fancy as in 
this picture, in which the luxuriant vegetation, the fantastic grandeur 
of the architecture, the splendour of the draperies, and their gorgeous 
colouring are enhanced by a masterly use of chiaroscuro, by the 
exquisite finish of the execution, and by the perfect harmony of the 
handling with the various picturesque details. 

It will not be out of place to inquire briefly into those principles 
of colouring which produced the full, resonant, and varied crimsons so 
happily blended or opposed in this picture. The master, careful of 
every element in his art, was specially jealous of the composition and 
preparation of his ingredients. He procured the rarest and most 
precious woods for his panels, and was equally particular as to the oils 
and varnishes he employed. The problem of the vehicles he used to 
spread his colours, or to continue an interrupted work without 
prejudice to its solidity and freshness, is still unsolved. Lacquers 
brought from the Dutch Indies had doubtless increased the resources 
of the. palette in Rembrandt's time. Sandrart extols the excellence of 
the colours then manufactured at Amsterdam, making special mention 
of a certain imperishable white, and of various ochres, which retained 
their transparence in shadow. The simplicity of Rembrandt's 
methods was a further guarantee of the durability of his works, and 
the excellent condition of all such as have enjoyed adequate care 
and protection is a sufficient proof of his technical superiority. 

In the small panel, Hannah teaching the child Samnelin the Temple^ 
dated 1648, now at Bridgwater House, the execution is as finished, and 
the chiaroscuro as delicate, but unhappily, the pigment has deteriorated. 
Hannah, a venerable old woman in a black wimple, and crimson 
dress with gold embroidered bodice, holds in her hand a pair of 
spectacles, and a large parchment book, from which the youthful 
Samuel has been reading. The child, a fair-headed cherub, with an 
innocent, rosy face, prays devoutly, with clasped hands. A soft 



"THE GOOD SAMARITAN" 251 

shadow falls across his face. In the middle distance, two old men 
stand beside a cradle, and in the background of the Temple rise the 
tables of the Law surmounted by an angel's head amidst gilded 
sculptures. The golden browns of the child's dress contrast finely 
with the magnificent reds of his mother's robe, and form as it were a 
subdued echo of the gorgeous harmonies of the Susanna. In this 
perceptible lowering of the key of colour, in the rich decorations of the 
Temple, where gold and the vague glint of precious stones are 
cunningly blended, we find a fresh evidence of the art with which 
Rembrandt brought every detail of his compositions into harmony 
with the subject. A somewhat larger picture in the Hermitage of the 
same theme, known as The Ntin and the Child, may be bracketed 
with the Bridgwater House panel, as closely analogous, though 
possibly later by a year or two. The heavy and somewhat spiritless 
execution, the comparatively cold, opaque shadows, and the want 
of richness in the tonality have suggested doubts, not altogether 
unreasonable, as to the authenticity of the work. We may, however, 
point out that the type of the child is identical with that of the Ephraim 
in the Jacob blessing the CJiildren of Joseph of 1656, and that the old 
woman, and the chair in which she sits, figure in several portrait-studies 
dated 1654. We should not be disinclined to question the authenticity 
of another large picture of this period, also in the Hermitage, a Fall of 
Hainan, in which the ^ life-size figures are fantastically arrayed in 
Turkish costume, and painted in a coarse and summary style. But we 
are fain to believe it a genuine work. A bare mention will suffice for 
this large canvas, the very perfunctory achievement of some few 
hours. 

Returning to the year 1648, we shall find two masterpieces in the 
Louvre, bearing this date, together with Rembrandt's signature. 
These are the Good Samaritan, and the Christ with the Disciples at 
Enimdus, subjects which seem to have had a supreme fascination for 
the master. He treated them again and again at different stages 
of his career, in paintings, drawings, and engravings. The motive 
of the Good Samaritan had a double attraction for him. It gave 
him an opportunity for the rendering of the nude, and the episode itself 
was one that appealed strongly to a nature so tender and sympathetic 
as that of Rembrandt, "kindly to the verge of extravagance," as 
Baldinucci testifies. Some strange presentiment of his own fate 
seems to have haunted the artist, making him keenly susceptible to 
the pathos of the story. He, too, was destined to lie stripped and 
wounded by Life's wayside, while many passed him by unheeding. 
He had already treated the subject in an etching of 1633, in a 
picture now in the Wallace collection, and in the drawing in the 
Boymans Museum, in all of which he lays peculiar emphasis on 
the moving elements of the drama. The sketch in the Berlin Print 
Room deals with another moment of the action. The master made 
use of it, with some unimportant modifications, for an interesting 
picture signed, and dated 1639, which I\I. Sedelmeyer recently 



252 REMBRANDT 

bought in Eni7;]and. The wouiided man lies almost naked on 
the rrround. The Samaritan, who wears a red costume and a 
turban, kneels beside him, dressing his wounds. To the left 
stands an iron-gray horse w^ith a saddle ; on the right is a drapery 
bordered with a rich embroidery, of that golden yellow in which 
Rembrandt delighted. A small medicine chest full of phials is 
open beside it. The horizon is shut out by a mass of rocks with a 
waterfall, and on some rising ground in the distance the Levite of 




A. 












(hi^J 











^'<^<^'' 




^ 



THE GOOD SAMARITAr*. 

Pen drawing (Berlin Print Room). 



the Gospel narrative casts a furtive backward glance at the sufferer 
he has left to perish. The harmony, made up of warm browns, yellows, 
and russets, is sustained and powerful, and the somewhat harsh 
execution broad and free. In the Louvre picture, painted some nine 
years later, as in a beautiful and most luminous sketch purchased by 
M. Sedelmeyer,^ Rembrandt returns to his first conception. But his 
artistic progress may be measured by the modifications to which he 
has subjected his composition. The sun is sinking, and the dying rays 
light up the group at the door, where the wounded man is lifted 

1 Formerly in Mr. Henry Willett's collection. It is a night-scene, the action 
taking place by torchlight, which gives occasion for various happy effects of chiaro- 
scuro. 







rH id 



"CHRIST WITH THE DISCIPLES AT EMMAUS" 



'53 



from the horse amidst the excited spectators of his arrival, and borne 
to the inn. His saviour, purse in hand, recommends him to the care 
of the hostess. How can we more fitlv describe the scene than in 
the eloquent words of Fromentin .^— " the man is barely alive; his 




RElilBKANUr liKAWCIS. 

1648 (B. 22). 



bearers support the bent and mangled body by the shoulders and 
legs; gasping with agony at the movement, he hangs helplessly in 
their arms, his bare knees drawn convulsively together, his feet 
contracted, one arm thrown across his hollow breast, ' his head 
swathed in a bloodstained bandage. ... It is late, the shadows 



254 



REMBRANDT 



are lengthening. The tranquil uniformity of twilight reigns 
throughout the canvas, save for an occasional gleam that seems 
to float across the surface, so fitful and mobile is its effect. In the 
mysterious gloaming you scarcely distinguish the finely modelled 
horse to the left of the picture, and the sickly looking child, rising 
on tip-toe to peer across the animal's neck at the wounded 
wayfarer, who moans as the servants carefully lift his shattered body." 
As to the execution — again we give way to Fromentin : " Pause, look 
at it closely, or at a distance, examine it carefully. No contour is 
obtrusive, no accent mechanical. You note a timidity which has 
nothing in common with ignorance, which results rather from a 
horror of the trivial, or from the great importance attached by the 
thinker to the direct expression of life ; a building up of things which 
seem to exist in his inner vision, and to suggest by indefinable methods 
alike the precision and the hesitations of Nature. . . . Nowhere a 
contortion, an exaggerated feature, nor a touch in the expression of the 
unutterable which is not at once pathetic and subdued ; the whole 
instinct with deep feeling, rendered with a technical skill little short 
of miraculous." -^ 

Emotion is perhaps still more powerfully expressed in the Christ 
with the Disciples at Eniinaus, a subject which presented greater 
difficulties. Here the simplicity of the conception is more marked, the 
treatment more personal and mysterious. Recalling earlier versions of 
the touching Gospel story, the purely decorative renderings of painters 
such as Titian and Paul Veronese, we feel that it was reserved for 
Rembrandt to comprehend and translate its intimate poetry. Hence- 
forth, it seems hardly possible to conceive of the scene but as he 
painted it. What depths of faith and adoring reverence he has 
suggested in the attitude of the disciple, who, his heart " burning 
within him" at his Master's words, recognises Him "in the breaking 
of bread," and clasps his hands in worship, while his companion, 
unconvinced as yet, leans upon the arm of his chair, his questioning 
gaze fixed on the Saviour's face ! How truthful again is the expression 
of ingenuous curiosity in the features of the young servant, amazed at 
the sudden emotion of the two apostles ! But more admirable than all 
is the conception of the risen Christ, the mysterious radiance that 
beams from His pallid face, the parted lips, the glassy eyes that 
have looked on death, the air of beneficent authority that marks 
His bearing. By what strange magic of art was Rembrandt 
enabled to render things unspeakable, and to breathe into our souls 
the divine essence of the sacred page by means of a picture 
" insignificant in appearance, without any beauty of accessories or 
background, subdued in colour, careful, and almost awkward in 
handling?" 2 

Rembrandt returned to the subject more than once. He had 
already treated it after a slightly fantastic fashion, in an etching of 1634 

^ E. Fromentin, Les Maitres d' Autrefois, p. 376 et scq, 
2 Fromentin, Ibid., p. 380. 




TIic S/tppcr at Fnnuaus ( t6^S). 



"CHRIST WITH THE DISCIPLES AT EMMAUS" 255 

(B. 88), the Christ of which is a somewhat theatrical figure. Twenty 
years later he made use of it for another plate (B.87), the composition 
oi' which is much on the same lines as that of the picture in the 
Louvre, though less impressive. The latter was probably preceded 
by the picture of the same date (1648) in the Copenhagen Aluseum, 
a greatly inferior work, in poor condition. The treatment is 
more complex, and the episode loses much of its emotional 
power. As in several other instances, Rembrandt has inclosed his 
composition in a simulated frame, slightly arched at the top ; a 
brown curtain, hanging from a rod, is painted across the left of the 
canvas. The Saviour wears a red robe ; His serene features show no 
traces of recent suffering and death. The interest is less concentrated ; 
and the obtrusive figure of an old woman in a white hood, carrying a 
glass, who is placed immediately in the light, attracts the eye of 
the spectator in a fashion disastrous to the effect of the main 
group. The master was more happily inspired in the beautiful 
drawinof of the Dresden Museum. The moment chosen is that 
wherein the Saviour vanishes from the siofht of His followers. 
Rembrandt very characteristically represents the humble room as 
illuminated by a vivid light, shining above the place lately occupied 
by the Lord. The two disciples are lost in awe and wonder at 
the miracle. One has risen, and presses against the wall, as if 
overcome with terror. 

The year 1648 is a date for ever memorable in the annals of the 
Netherlands. After a prolonged struggle, the Beggars had triumphed 
over their oppressors, and had wrung from them recognition of their 
national independence. Throughout the length and breadth of 
Holland, already rich and powerful, the solemn act which ratified her 
claims in the sight of Europe, and crowned her prosperity, was received 
with joyful acclamations. Public fetes, and gala theatrical perfor- 
mances, attested the popular delight at the proclamation of the Peace 
of Westphalia. The men of letters celebrated it in their writings. 
Terborch constituted himself historiographer of the Treaty of Munster, 
which set the final seal on the peace ; Van der Heist, who had become 
Rembrandt's rival, and Covert Flinck, who had taken his master's 
place in public favour, were commissioned by the civic guards to paint 
the two large canvases that now flank the NigJit Watc/i in the R)ks- 
museum. No one seems to have thought of Rembrandt on this 
occasion. Although he now lived in great retirement, troubling 
himself little about public opinion, it is natural to suppose that he 
was not insensible to this neglect. He cannot but have shared the 
emotion of his contemporaries. A son of that Leyden whose heroic 
resistance had so greatly strengthened the cause of national freedom, 
he loved the land he was never to leave, and where, l.)ut a few years 
back, he was accounted the most distinguished master of his day. His 
artistic susceptibihtics were wounded, and he resolved to emerge from 
his seclusion. It was doubtless in the hojie of receiving some com- 
mission akin to those of his confreres, v.hicli would give scope for the 



256 



REMBRANDT 



display both of liis talents and his patriotism, that in 1648 he executed 
the grisaille in the Rotterdam Museum, known as The Pacification of 
Holland {La Concorde du Pays), a confused, overloaded composition, 
full of subtle allusions suggested, perhaps, by some pedant of the 
master's acquaintance. Rembrandt showed little aptitude for allegory. 
He had none of Rubens' ease, coherence, and decorative sense in its 
treatment. Realities were the essential basis of his art. The 
Rotterdam picture, with its two compact masses of combatants, 
separated by a lioness chained beneath a shield emblazoned with the 
arms of Amsterdam ' and the legend. Soli Deo Gloria ; its figure of 
justice, clumsily grasping a scale loaded with papers ; its infinite variety 
of grotesque detail, is a mere jumble of enigmatical episodes, the 
interpretation of which passes both our courage and our patience. 

The general effect, how- 
ever, is very remarkable. 
The neutral blue tint of 
the sky is happily con- 
trasted with the pre- 
dominant brown and 
russet tones, which are 
heightened here and there 
by fat touches of pale 
yellowy applied with 
superb brio for the high 
lights. The execution of 
the left portion of the 
panel is masterly in the 
extreme. From Mr. Baer's 
fine photograph here re- 
produced our readers may 
gain a very fair idea of 
the feeling for picturesque 
efiect, and extraordinary 
divination of the medi:eval spirit displayed by Rembrandt, in his 
grouping of the serried ranks of mailed horsemen in martial and 
resolute array. The figure of the leader, lance in rest on his 
prancing white charger, is especially admirable. Instinct with the 
prescience of modern Romanticism, it recalls one of Delacroix's vivid 
creations. The composition, it appears, was never carried out on 
a larcj-er scale. The Q-risaille remained in Rembrandt's studio and 
figures in the inventory of 1656. We need not greatly regret that the 
painter received no commission for the large picture he had aspired to 
paint. In its present dimensions the sketch is highly interesting, 
as exhibiting Rembrandt's methods of composition. In a more 
imposing form its extravagances would have been fatally apparent. 
The commentaries, more or less ingenious, by which some writers 

^ The introduc'aon of this shield seems to confirm the idea that Rembrandt had 
hopes of a place in one of the public buildings, perhaps the Stadniiis, for his work. 




"noli me tam.kre." 
1651 (Kruiiiwick Museum). 




Fragijiciil from ''The /\uiJica/ioii of /lo/Zamf' (/64S). 



(nciYMANS MlSia'M, ROTTEKPAM.) 



"THE PACIFICATION OF HOLLAND' 



257 



have sought to explain the hidden meanings of the allegory, tend 
only to the deeper mystification of the student. Here again Rem- 
brandt seems to have recognised his disabilities. He made no 
further essays in this direction, and the Pacification remains hib' 
solitary attempt to illustrate, directly or indirectly, the history of his 
own times. 

Two pictures, one the landscape in the Cassel Gallery, known as 
The Ruin, the other a portrait at Panshanger, are the only works by 
Rembrandt we can assign to the year 1649, ^ri-^ even so, we have 
nothing to go upon in the case of the latter but conjecture. Lord 



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STUKY FOR THE " NOLI ME TANGERE" IN THE BRUNSWICK MLSELM. 



Cowper's example is a life-size equestrian portrait of a personage said 
to be the Marechal de Turenne. He wears a rich and brilliant 
uniform — a buff jerkin with gold-embroidered silk sleeves, and a large 
felt hat with feathers — and bestrides a restive dapple-gray horse, at 
the entrance of a park. A servant stands beside him, and in the 
middle distance to the left is a state-carriage with footmen, 
containing several persons. The magnificence of the surroundino-s 
is by no meins out of character with the supposed sitter, and seems 
to confirm the notion that the portrait is that of Turenne. The 
Marshal, a grandson of William the Silent, had served his ap|:)rentice- 
ship to the career of arms with some distinction, under his uncles, 
Maurice and Frederick Henry, sons of the Prince of Orange. The 
assumed date of the portrait also agrees with that of Turenne's later 



258 REMBRANDT 

sojourn in Holland. It will be remembered that the Marshal, having 
sided against INIazarin in the troubles of the Fronde, was abandoned 
by his troops, and judged it prudent to retire to the Netherlands in 
February, 1649. He remained in the country till the conclusion of 
the Peace of Rueil, on the first of April of the same year, and during 
these weeks, Avhen he was no doubt the guest of his cousin, William HI., 
Rembrandt is supposed to have painted his portrait. The work adds 
little to the master's reputation. The horse was not studied with the 
care and precision necessary for a work on this large scale, and has a 
lifeless, wooden appearance. The colour is monotonously brown ; the 
handling, loose and slight in the background, and excessively loaded in 
the draperies, is careless throughout, save in the modelling of the 
head. This, though not essentially unlike that of Turenne — the facial 
type is that of a severe-looking man, with a rather thick nose, a 
florid complexion, long luxuriant hair, and a slight black moustache 
— bears but a vague resemblance to the later portrait by Pieter de 
Jode, engraved by Anselm van Hulle, or to that by Philippe 
de Champaigne, familiar to us in Robert de Nauteuil's admirable 
engraving.^ 

The Vcrtitinnus and Pomona in the collection of the Artis AmiciticE 
Society at Prague, is now admitted to be by Aert de Gelder. This 
picture, which enjoyed a great reputation during the eighteenth 
century, was engraved by Lepicie as the work of Rembrandt. At 
the Lebrun sale, however, it was restored to its true author. Both 
in subject and sentiment the composition has very slight affinities, if 
any, with Rembrandt's work. Neither in the delicately-featured 
Pomona, who wears a large straw hat and a dress of somewhat pre- 
tentious elegance, nor in her disguised suitor, the old woman in a 
cloak, leaning upon a crutch, can we trace any likeness to the types 
and costumes of the master. The execution, too, differs radically from 
that of Rembrandt. 

After an interval of some two years we find the artist returning to 
the Scriptural subjects he loved. The Jacob lamenting the supposed 
Death of Joseph, in the Hermitage, a picture with life-size figures, three- 
quarters length, represents the patriarch gazing at the bloody coat of 
Joseph. One of the brothers displays it across his knees ; another tells 
the story agreed upon. Jacob stands beside a table, and, lifting up his 
hands, expresses his agony at the news. The youthful Benjamin beside 
him plays with a bird, childishly indifferent to the catastrophe. The 
scene is well composed, and carried out in the warm browns, yellows, 
and reds peculiar to the period. The execution is not remark- 
able, as compared with the master's technique generally. Abraham 
entertaining the Angels, also in the Hermitage, apparently belongs 
to the same period. Here the figures are again life-size. The 
patriarch, seated with his guests at a table spread before the 
open door of his house, pauses in the act of carving the joint 

^ As Dr. Bredius points out, the face is that of a younger man than Turenne, who 
was born in 161 1, and was therefore thirty-eight at the supposed date of the picture 



PICTURES INSPIRED BY THE BIBLE 



2^0 



before him. amazed at the white-robed ancrel's announcement that 
Sarah shall shortly bear a son. His wife, who appears behind 
him on the threshold, laughs incredulously at the angel's words. 
The venerable figure of the patriarch is full of dignity and beauty. 
But the conception has scarcely the expressive eloquence proper to 
Rembrandt's works. The strange attitude of the angel in the 
foreground, and the vivid hues of his many-coloured wings assert 
themselves somewhat unduly in the composition. Pleased with the 
theme, the master had already treated it in several drawings, and 
in a small picture dated 1646, formerly in the Six collection, which 
was in Mr. Richard Saunderson's possession in 1836. He returned to 
it some years later (in 1656) for an etching (B. 29) less interesting 
than the St. Petersburg example, and marked by eccentricities of 
treatment still more pronounced. 

We may briefly call attention to the Wonmn taken in Adultery, a 
large canvas from the Duke of Marlborough's collection, recentl)- 
acquired by M. Sedelmeyer. In this remarkable work the colour, 
and the strong traces of Italian influence in the composition are 
sufficiently perplexing to the connoisseur. Both in type and execution 
two of the figures — Jesus Himself, and the white-bearded old man 
beside Him — are purely Rembrandtesque conceptions, worthy of 
the master's genius. The remaining three, however, — the youn<- 
man to the left, the woman, and the handsome efteminate-looking youth 
in the shadow — seem to be borrowed from Titian or Van Dyck. In 
view of these anomalies, we cannot but concur in Dr. Bode's doubts 
as to the authenticity of this work, its harmonious colour and fine 
quality notwithstanding ; and we may add, in further justification of 
such doubts, that the signature and the date 1644 inscribed on the 
canvas are obvious forgeries. 

Though neither signed nor dated, the Vision of Daniel, purchased 
within the last few years from Sir Ed. Lechmere for the Berlin 
Museum, is, on the other hand, unquestionably the work of Rembrandt. 
Landscape plays an important part in the mysterious sublimitv of 
the scene. A tower — the same we noted in the Susanna — ^rises 
against the pale gray sky from a base of perpendicular rock. Daniel 
has fallen forwarcl on his face by the riverside, tremblino- with fear 
at the apparition of the strange beast on the opposite bank. The 
angel Gabriel stoops to raise him from the ground, and expounds the 
vision, pointing to the fantastic ram from which the young prophet 
averts his terrified gaze. A drawing in M. Bonnat's collectron shows 
that Rembrandt took considerable pains to render the symbolic horns 
exactly as they are described in the text. He must have at last 
recognised the futility of his efforts, for after reiterated corrections and 
erasures he finally abandoned his attempt. But though his concep- 
tion of the beast is rather grotesque than terrible, its absurdity is more 
than redeemed by details such as the awe-struck face of Daniel, his 
attitude, and that of the consoling angel, the mysterious brightness 
which throws the two figures into strong relief against the brown 



26o 



REMliRANDT 






tones of the surroundinor landscape, and, finally, the skill with which 
the handling is adapted to the dimensions. The work remains, in 
spite of its defects, one of the most poetic of the master's creations at 
this period. 

The Christ appcariiiQ- io tJie Magdaloic, of the Brunswick Museum, 
dated 165 1, is instinct with a charm still deeper and more penetrating. 
Here Rembrandt returns to the theme he had already treated in the 
Buckingham Palace picture, avoiding the various eccentricities we 
deprecated in the earlier work. In a beautiful drawing in the 
Stockholm Print Room he gives yet a third version of the episode. 
The scene as represented in the Brunswick canvas is, hov^-ever. vastly 

more impressive. Alone, 
and dressed in mourninpf 

_ ^ ^ 

robes, abandon ino- herself 
to her despair, the Mag- 
dalene has lied the city, 
and drawn bv some strano^e 
prescience, has wandered 
into this desert spot, where 
the last faint rays of the 
setting sun gleam on rocks 
and stunted bushes. The 
Saviour draws near, touched 
by her devotion. Faint and 
weary, bearing in His feet 
and hands the bloody evi- 
dences of His passion, and 
on His face the marks of 
His protracted agony, He 
comes forth from the land 
of shadows. Wrapped 
in His winding-sheet of 
linen, He approaches the 
mourner, faithful when so 
many failed. Mary endea- 
vours to kiss the hem of 
His garment. She stretches forth detaining hands. But the Saviour's 
kingdom is not of this world. He does not repulse her, but, with a 
gesture of benevolent authority, pronounces the warning Noli me 
tangere. The two solitary figures, the one illuminated by the light 
that shines from the other, the vague outlines, the melancholy of the 
place and hour, the majesty of death, the ineffable fusion of love 
and awe, together with countless other traits, conceived with 
infinite delicacy, and rendered with matchless eloquence, appeal to 
the soul and move it to its uttermost depths. 

In the intervals of these important undertakings, Rembrandt painted 
a few portraits of friends, and fancy studies, such as the Minerva^ 
in the Hermitage, which to judge by the breadth of the handling; 




THE SPANISH GIPST. 

1647 (B. 120). 




^ 

Ki 

'N 



:^0 



STUDIES AND PORTRAITS 



261 



probably dates from about 1650. The goddess wears a helmet with 
an owl for crest, and grasps a shield.' But for the working up of 
the impasto, and the harmonious intonations so characteristic of 
Rembrandt, the beauty and noble proportions of the figure might 
well lead us to suppose it the creation of some Italian masfer. 
Unhappily the picture has suffered considerably; the buckler, which 
fills the lower part of the canvas, has become quite black. A portrait, 
or rather a study, painted about 164S-1650, claims a place of honour 
among the works of this period. This is the life-size three-quarters 
length of an old woman, bought by M. Sedelmeyer in Scotland, 
and now in M.J. Porges' 
collection in Paris. A 
large Bible lies upon her 
lap ; her left hand rests 
upon it. holding her 
spectacles. She seems 
to be musing on what 
she has just read. Her 
face is seamed with 
wrinkles, the gray hairs 
about her temples and 
broad forehead have be- 
come scanty; her small 
eyes, reddened by fre- 
quent tears, are dim and 
sunken; but her ruddy 
lips and cheeks denote 
a temperament still vigor- 
ous and active. Her 
dress, though simple, is 
very picturesque. The 
execution, free and even 
careless in parts — as, for 
instance, in the sleeves 
and the hastily painted 
hands — is elaborately 
finished in the delicately modelled face, the headdress, and notablv 
in the fur, the tawn)- shades of which are treated with the utmost 
skill and precision. Save that the effect is richer, we recognise 
the same harmony of brilliant and varied reds and yellows melting 
into iron grays, the secret of which Maes learnt from the master', and 
turned to account in several fine works. But powerful drawino- and 
glowing colour notwithstanding, the sitter's personality dominates the 
whole. The interest centres in the e.xpression of the venerable face, 
the meditative gaze, the unstudied pathos of the gesture by which 
the simple old creature seems to proclaim the fervour of her faith, 
and the consoling influences of her favourite book. 

Among the small studies of heads painted tovrards this period 




HKAi< OF cn;;i.s;. 
About 1652 (M. Roiiolphe Kanr.). 



262 REMBRANDT 

are two more notable than the rest : the first that of a young man 
with a fresh complexion, a quantity of fair hair, and a soft and 
gentle expression (it belongs to Mr, Warneck), the second a 
study of an old man, belonging to Baron van Harinxma of 
Leeuwarden.^ Both are remarkable for the delicacy of their 
modelling, the brilliance of their high-toned flesh-tints, and a 
breadth of handling unusual in works of such small dimensions. 
In addition to several other portraits, of which we shall have more 
to say in due time, we may mention two studies of himself painted 
by Rembrandt at this period. The Leipzig Museum owns one, 
a bust, the head turned full to the spectator, in which the master 
wears a dark red costume ; a large violet cap throws its shadow 
over the greater part of his face. The other, a more important 
work, signed, and dated 1650, belongs to the Fitzwilliam Museum 
at Cambridge. As was so often his habit when making a study 
from himself, Rembrandt has somewhat disregarded the actual 
likeness, and it is hardly surprising that Waagen failed to recognise 
the painter in this portrait, which represents him in the martial 
trappings he affected in his earlier works. A broad-brimmed hat 
with feathers shades his face ; over his slashed crimson doublet he 
wears a heavy gold chain, a cuirass, and the inevitable steel gorget 
we have so often noted. One hand rests on the hilt of his 
sword, the other on his hip. The excellent condition of this picture 
enables the student fully to appreciate the charm of the chiaroscuro, 
and the masterly assurance of the frank, yet mellow touch. A 
more faithful transcript of the master's features at this period is to 
be found in an etching of 1648, the Portrait of Rembrandt draiuing 
(B. 22). Here the painter has put off his lordly airs with his 
plumed cap, and represents himself in his working dress, a plain 
tunic open at the neck, and the rather high, narrow-brimmed hat 
which also figures in a drawing in Mr. Heseltine's collection. He 
is seated at a table, drawing by the light from an open casement, 
through which are seen the tops of distant trees. His features 
have aged considerably ; his forehead is covered with wrinkles ; his 
eyes, melancholy, but penetrating as ever, are fixed steadily 
on the model before him. This is a fine and impressive plate, 
though somewhat worn in the later impressions (there are ten 
altogether). The earlier "states," though lacking the charm of 
many other portraits of the master, express more forcibly than 
any the keenness of his gaze, and the concentration he brought to 
bear on a task that demanded all his attention. 

The etchings of this period are to the full as important as the 
pictures. Their number, and the elaboration of some among them, 
explain the comparative rarity of Rembrandt's paintings in certain 
years, as, for instance, in 1649 and 165 i. His infinite variety both of 
subject and method attests the fertility of his imagination, and the 

^ This study, which is signed, and dated 1647, figured in the exhibition organised by 
the Piilchri Studio Club at the Hague in 1890. 




^Iftci- I he Reading (about /6^c)). 

(m. I. roRGKs' coi.i.e:tion.) 



ETCHINGS OF THIS PERIOD 263 

flexible quality of his genius. We find him passing in rapid succession 
from motive to motive of the most diverse character. He had always 
shown a deep interest in popular life and manners, recognising that 
among the lower orders, the expression of feeling is vigorous and natural 
in proportion to its lack of refinement. The little plate of 1646, the 
Old Beggariuonian (B. 170), leaning on a staff, her right hand extended, 
as if asking alms, reproduces both the figure and attitude of the 
old woman in the Little Spanish Gipsy (B, 120), a plate executed 
about this period ; it is said, as an illustration for a Dutch play, 
borrowed from the Spanish stage, which was then popular in 
Amsterdam.^ 

In 1648 he returned to those types of beggars and poor persons 
which had inspired so many of his early plates, and closed the series 
by a masterpiece, the Beggars at the Door of a House (B. 176), an 
etching in which the most vivid and striking effect is won by means 
of a few strokes. Four ragged figures — a boy, an old man, and a 
woman with a baby on her back — stand shivering in their patched 
garments at the threshold of an open door, awaiting, with the 
patient resignation of the wretched, the alms a benevolent-looking 
man smilingly bestows upon them. As our readers will note on 
examination, every stroke tells in this plate, the richness of which 
is obtained by the most simple means. The touch, full of an in- 
telligent sobriety, reproduces not merely the outline of objects, but 
their textures and quality, with unerring precision. A plate closely 
allied to this in execution is the Jcius Synagogtie (B. 126), of the 
same year (164S), the scene and strongly marked types of which 
Rembrandt no doubt studied in the vicinity of his own house, close 
to the Breestraat. 

At this period, as throughout his career, Rembrandt drew his 
subjects largely from the Bible. We need not linger over the little 
plate of 1647, l^he Rest in Egypt (B. 57), nor, though this is 
more important, over the Christ on the C^'oss bctzueen the tzco 
Thieves {B. 79) of the preceding year. Both were merely pretexts for 
studies of light somewhat hurriedly treated. This brings us to 1649, a 
year in which we shall not be surprised to find the list of pictures 
painted by the master a very scanty one. It was made memorable by 
one great creation, the fame of w^hich suffices to glorify, as the labour 
of execution sufficed to occupy it. This was the celebrated plate, 
Christ Healing the Sick {B. 74), better known as The Hundred 
Gtctlder Piece. Rembrandt made several studies for this plate, the 
most remarkable of which are the reversed drawing of the central 
group of sufferers, in the Berlin Print Room, and the drawing of the 
camel to the right, in M. Bonnat's collection. By this careful pre- 
paration the order and clarity of the conception were perfectly 
preserved, and in spite of the multiplicity of episodes, the effect is 
simple and coherent. Beauty of execution seems to have reached its 

^ The evidence on this point is by no means conclusive. The play, however, was 
published by the title Ilct Lcvcn van Konstance ; Amsterdam, 1643. 



264 



REMBRANDT 



his^hest point in the finer impressions of the plate. Rembrandt was 
now in full possession of his artistic resources. He made use of an 
infinity of processes, combining and opposing them, not in foolish pride 
of technical accomplishment, but as a means towards the highest ex- 
pressive quality. He loads one portion of the plate with those intense 
velvety blacks of which he alone possessed the secret, making every 
detail leo-ible through the deep, yet transparent shadow. In another 
part the execution is extremely slight, the delicate strokes seeming to 
melt into the high lights. The master was able to correct and work 
upon his plates in such a manner as to reinforce their unity. By 
means of a learned system of preparation and retouching, he trans- 
formed them, bringing out new and unexpected beauties. The strokes 



V-^^ 



^k 



' 4 v.. • 



:i^. 



Jl«*r 



*V»". 



\ \h 



'. V ^-^ 



y 



^ 



f^-.-. ; 



t^'z 











r«fe 






'y-i^»^yT>^n^/ J- . .% 



w. '-4 



EKKTCH FOR "DAMEl's VISION." 

Pen drawing with wash (M. Leon Bonnat). 



of the needle are so placed as never to quite conceal what is beneath, 
and the darkest parts are never blind or impenetrable. The methods 
by which he emphasises the more essential features of his subject are 
such as genius alone could devise. Note, for instance, the consum- 
mate art of the grouping in this Hundred Guilder Piece. To the left 
are the spectators of the miracle, Pharisees and unbelievers, the types 
of self-sufficiency and rancour, jealous of those worldly interests and 
conventional creeds the Saviour's teaching seems to threaten. They 
dog His steps, secretly hoping to find some fault in Him, and exchange 
virulent criticisms among themselves. Some there are, however, who 
seem to hesitate, half-convinced, awaiting the manifestation that shall 



THE HUNDRED GUILDER PIECE" 



265 



determine their doubts and compel their adhesion. On the right we 
see the crowd of sufferers — the sick, the insane — -every type of human 
pain and misery. They too follow Jesus, but in no contentious spirit. 




t>R. KALSTUS. 

About 1651 (B. 270). 



They suffer, and they hope for hcaliuL;". l^-om every side they hasten 
to the Saviour's feet — some limping, or dragging themselves on 
crutches ; others brought by friends on wheelbarrows or stretchers 



266 REMBRANDT 

some crawling painfully on hands and knees. They press eagerly 
around Him, imploring help by word and gesture. A deep and 
beautiful significance is added to the conception by the disposal of the 
sceptics and false teachers in the full daylight, and of the sick and 
afflicted suppliants in dense shadow. " An antithesis superb alike 
in its moral truth and artistic effect," as Vosmaer says, and due 
to no puerile straining after dramatic contrast, but to " a perception 
of life and art of the utmost truth and delicacy." By a skilful dis- 
tribution of the half-tones the two groups are brought together in a 
series of modulated gradations, which obviate all the harshness 
of violent contrast. Prominent in the midst of the two groups 
the Saviour stands. His face radiant with serene compassion and 
tenderness, a figure at once gentle and commanding, to which the 
eye is immediately attracted as the central point of interest in the 
composition. 

It was natural that Rembrandt should bestow the utmost care on 
all the mechanical aids to such a work as this. Just as he chose the 
wood for his panels, and superintended the preparation of his colours, 
so he printed his etchings on the papers best fitted to bring out the 
perfection of his work. He procured specimens of those he considered 
most suitable from the country in which such manufactures have been 
brought to the highest point of perfection, and occasionally experi- 
mented on vellum, but for choice, made use of China or Japanese 
paper, the supple, resisting quality of which material heightened the 
delicate effect of his workmanship. He invariably printed his etchings 
himself, with such variety in the processes employed, that it is rare to 
find two perfectly similar impressions from the same plate. In many 
instances, the differences resulting from his method of spreading the 
ink, and wiping away sometimes more, sometimes less of the fluid 
before pulling, have caused it to be supposed that the various impres- 
sions were, in fact, distinct states. By thus undertaking the more 
mechanical processes, which others were content to leave to subordin- 
ates, Rembrandt gave them a peculiar aesthetic quality, and the finer 
impressions of his works soon came to be highly prized by amateurs. 
None were more eagerly sought after than the Hundred Guilder 
prints, which fetched comparatively high prices as soon as they were 
completed. Many of these have passed from one famous collection to 
another ; they have their distinctive titles, and have risen steadily in 
value with years. In spite of the tradition, however, it does not 
appear that the print actually sold for a hundred guilders (a sum equal 
to about eight guineas) in Rembrandt's lifetime. An old inscription 
on the back of an impression of the first state in the Vienna Print 
Room mentions forty-eight florins as the price given for the sixth 
impression. It may be, as jNI. Dutuit suggests, that Rembrandt 
valued the print at a hundred guilders in exchanging it with his friend 
Zoomer for some engravings by Marc Antonio. But its market 
value has greatly increased since the beginning of the present 
century. Only nine impressions of the first state exist. Of these, 



OTHER ETCHINGS OF THIS PERIOD 267 

one, formerly 111 the Zoomer collection, was bought by M. Dutuit 
in 1868 for 2"i.ioo {27,500 francs).^ 

After a task of such magnitude, in which the demands both on 
genius and industry were so severe, Rembrandt naturally sought 
relaxation. The etchings that immediately followed are little more 
than careless sketches, hastily drawn on the copper, though even in 
these the progress made by the master is manifest. Three among 
them, it is true, the Flight into Egypt of 1651 (B. 53); the Sta)" 
of the Kings (B. 113) and the Adoration of the Shepherds (fi. 46), 
probably of the same year, are night-pieces, in which the darkness 
is relieved by occasional gleams of brilliant light ; but the opacity 
of the shadows betrays the haste of the treatment. The Triumph 
of Mordecai (B. 40), a plate of about the same period, is almost as 
summary in execution, and is merely a picturesque motive, of slight 
importance, while the fantastic composition of the Funeral of 
Jesus (B. 86) is rendered more startling by the coarse handling. 
But other plates of this period are models of pregnant concision in 
their deliberate reticence of treatment. In his fresh and novel pre- 
sentments of familiar episodes, Rembrandt reveals both the fertility of 
his imagination, and the increase of his experimental knowledge. In 
the Nativity (B. 45) he shows us the Shepherds advancing with 
reverent curiosity to the rude manger ; the cattle in the background 
seem to unite with them in wondering homage. In the Jesus 
disputing with the Doctors in the Temple (B. 65) we sec the Divine 
Child alone among the elders, baffling their perfidious questions, 
and confounding their boasted wisdom by the ingenuity of His 
replies. In the Jesus Christ in the midst of Tfis Disciples of 
1650 (B. 89), we note the various emotions — amazement, incredulity, 
and rapture — roused in the minds of the disciples by the sacred 
apparition. 

Rembrandt's powers are even more brilliantly manifested in two Old 
Testament subjects of this period. The David on his Knees of 16^2 
(B. 41) combines extreme simplicity of technique with a most masterly 
precision. Under the magic touch of the master's burin, common- 
place objects take on an indescribable colour and charm. The Tobit 
Blind (1651 ; B. 42) has not only these qualities, but the further 
beauty of admirable composition. The wonderfully natural gesture 
of the old man, who gropes his way with his stick and his 
disengaged hand, recalls the attitude of Elymas the sorcerer in 
Raphael's cartoon." 

^ And another, which had been Mr. No/ford's, TCtJS sold at Christie's in fulw 1893, 
for j[^\,1^o. More e?tcourai^ini:; yet, because it 7c>as a si^i^^n of the admiration excited hv 
fine subject and fine impression, independent of ''^ state," was the price obtained at Sotheby's 
in 1S92, for the impression wliich had beion'^ed to that admirable amateur, Mr. Richard 
Fisher.— F. W. 

2 Rembrandt's Tobit was no sudden insjiiration. It was itroccded by the Blind .]fan 
seen from behind (^. 153^ a jilate probably executed in 1630, in which the gesture and 
movement are very characterisitic, thouyh the conception is greatly inferior to the Tobit in 
style, and even in truth. 



268 



REMBRANDT 



Two Other etchings of this period are perhaps more typical 
examples, in that they deal with eftects of light. Turning to very 
novel account the most subtle of the picturesque elements in Nature, 
he found methods of expression no less varied than powerful in the 
treatment of chiaroscuro. By means of strong contrasts of light and 
shadow he succeeded in rendering or suggesting those supernatural 
phenomena which art had been powerless to express before his 
advent. i:\\{i Docloj' Faiisius oi 165 1 (B. 270) attests Rembrandt's 
continued preoccupation with the problems of chiaroscuro he had 
attacked in the Christ with the Disciples at Einmaiis and the Hiuidred 

Guilder Piece. The mys- 
terious element in such 
a subject as the Doctor 
Fanstus was of a nature 
to appeal strongly to the 
master. Standino- at a 
table in his laboratory, 
surrounded by the para- 
phernalia of his art, the 
doctor looks with fixed 
attention at the apparition 
he has conjured up, a 
mirror containing a cabal- 
istic inscription, wherein 
the name Adam appears 
together with the title 
Inri in fiery letters. There 
is no touch of fear on his 
refined and intelligent 
features. The expression 
is marked only by eager 
curiosity. The old man 
is evidently an adept for 
whom the black art has 
lost its terrors. 

In a more important 
plate of two years later, the 
Three Crosses (1653 '-> B- 7^)' ^ more pathetic effect is won from the 
arrangement of light. The stormy grandeur of the composition is in 
perfect harmony with the character of the scene. The trembling earth, 
the riven clouds, the flashing rays of light, the universal tumult of the 
elements, blend into unity with the agitation of the crowd, their grief, 
terror, adoration, or hatred, the wild flood of human emotions that 
surged about the foot of the Cross. The very contrasts of execution 
seem but a natural echo of the outburst of contending passions. 
While some of the details are finished with the utmost elaboration, 
others, as, for instance, the horse ridden by one of the soldiers, and 
the guard who has dismounted, are so slightly sketched as to give 




BEGGARS AT THE DOOR OF A HOUSE. 

1643 (B. 176). 



^ In. 



S/- "^ 






•£~' -5. 






"S 



OTHER ETCHINGS OF THIS PERIOD 



269 



an effect of incoherence, or even of an almost childish awkwardness. 
The master's hand would seem to have followed the workings of his 
imagination with a feverish eagerness that impelled him to leave 
his work unfinished, and trust to the sympathy of the spectator for 
its due completion. Anxious, however, to carry his interpretation 
of the text as far as possible, Rembrandt deepened the shadows 
very considerably in the after states of this plate, finally drowning 
all the details in complete darkness. 

The Christ preaching (B. 67), a plate worthy to rank beside the 
Hundred Guilder Piece, though somewhat smaller in dimensions, briuo-s 




STUDY FOR THE HUNDRED GUILDER FIECB. 

Pen drawing (Berlin Print Room). 



this series to an end. Executed about 1652, it was generally known, 
perhaps even in Rembrandt's lifetime, and certainly soon after his 
death, as The Little Tomb {TonibiscJi plaatgcn), probably because it 
became the property of a friend of Rembrandt's named Jacob de la 
Tombe. The full maturity of the master's genius is expressed in 
every feature — in the impressive aspect of the whole, the frankness 
of the effect, the happy balance of masses, the animation and variety 
of expression, the ease and precision of the handling. Familiar 
types abound in the composition ; many of the faces are vulgar, 
some of the attitudes incorrect. But these seem only to accentuate 
the ideal beauty of the Saviour, and the majesty of His bearing. 



270 



REMBRANDT 



Rembrandt's type of Jesus at this period — a face of singular nobility, 
with brown hair and beard, and eyes at once soft and piercing — 
may be recognised in the admirable study of a head in M. Rodolphe 
Kann's collection, probably painted about 1652. In his conceptions 
of the divine figure, Rembrandt loved to dwell on the infinitely 
human and compassionate aspects of His personality. His Christ is 
the apostle and martyr of Charity, the Christ of the rough manger, 
the cottage home of Nazareth, the supper at Emmaus. He dwells 
among the poor, the despised, the afflicted. We have seen Him heal- 
ino- their diseases ; we now behold Him ministering to their souls. 
The master expresses the Saviour's love and mercy in accents of deep 
conviction, the candid simplicity of which confounded the devotees 
of accepted traditions. Rembrandt's visions have an inwardness 
all their own, and the emotions he seeks to inspire lie beyond the 
regions of convention. His own heart was profoundly touched by them ; 
they haunted his solitary and dreamy mind, filling it so completely 
that the occasional grotesqueness of his conceptions escaped his 
notice, and he was hardly aware that his characters lacked nobility 
and distinction, or that their costumes were often fantastic and 
inappropriate. But his sincerity was absolute, and eager to declare 
to us new things of subjects apparently exhausted, he turned to 
novel and untried methods. He created a style — a style compounded 
of diffidence and audacity, of ingenuity and knowledge, a purely 
personal style, yet one which his genius, at once positive and 
speculative, never definitively adopted, so strong were those early 
prepossessions, from which even his passionate desire for perfection 
never completely detached him. 




TF.SUS DISrUTING WITH THE DOCTORS. 

1652 (B. 65). 




m^ 



ii 






LAN'DSCAl'E WITH A RUINED TOWER. 

About 164S (B. 223). 



CHAPTER XVI 



PORTRAITS OF REMBRANDTS RELATIVES AND FRIENDS : JAN SYLVIUS, EPHRAIM 

BONUS, JAN SIX, COPPENOL, CLEMENT DE JONGHE REMBRANDT"S INTIMATES 

AMONG THE LANDSCAPE-PAINTERS : CLAES BERCHEM, JAN ASSELVN, R. ROGHMAN, 
H. SEGHERS, JAN VAN DE CAPPELLE — STUDIES FROM NATURE — THE ' RUIX ' AND 
THE 'windmill' — STUDIES OF ANIMALS — REMBRANDT'S PUPILS AT THIS PERIOD — 
HIS METHOD OF TEACHING. 




R 



EMBRANDT'S painted and engraved 
portraits of this period have a pecuHar 
interest, as affording us an insight 
into his friendships and course of Hfe. One 
of these, the portrait of an elderly man, 
dated 1650, which Dr. Bredius bought not 
long since in England, he thinks may very 
probably represent Rembrandt's brother, 
Adriaen, the quondam shoemaker, who took 
over the mill after his fathers death. The 
face, with its broad nose, vigorous features, 
and grizzled hair and moustache, is not 
unlike Rembrandt's own. It figures in 
several other works by the master, as, for 
instance, in the full face study of a head, engraved by Schmidt, 
in a study of a man in a helmet, which passed from France 
to America in 1S90, and in one of Rembrandt's latest pictures, 
the U\-)rkers in the Vineyard of the Wallace collection.^ The 
portrait is carried out in brown transparent glazes upon a 

1 It has been suggested that the head of a man, one of several sketches on a single 
plate (B. 370), among them a group of beggars etched in 163 1, was drawn from this same 
model. But this head is evidently a study of Rembrandt himself. Its likeness to the 
Rc/nbratidi drawing (B. 22), for instance, is unmistakable. 



THE DRAUGHTSMAN. 

Pen drawing (British Museum). 



REMBRANDT 



lieht eround ; the impasto is rich and loaded in the liohts, and 
the effect of the rapid, but masterly touch is singularly brilliant. 
In the etching of Jan Cornelisz Sylvius we have the portrait of 
another member of the artist's family. Rembrandt, we know, had 
already etched Sylvius' portrait in 1633 or 1634. For the plate 




STUDY FOR TfiE POKTRAIT OF J. C. SYLVIUS. 

I'cn drawing (British Museum). 



of i6d6 (B. 2S0), executed eight years after the minister's death, 
he used a drawing made in Sylvius' life-time, and also a sketch 
(in the British Museum) in which, with a few hasty strokes, he 
decided upon the arrangement of the figure. Saskia's cousin is 
represented full face. He turns over the leaves of a book with 



PORTRAIT OF CORXELISZ SYLVIUS 273 

his left hand ; his right is outstretched as if to emphasise a solemn 







CutuJ a^rcLn^wrnSfociLct CFiicanIia. (ja nj hint , 

jLt funiultJ lyt^rttni na/rbkt: tuL ajrra. Tna.(rv, 
"Jxlu cr:ti Syii^v ptuus . a.iuLt^'^LiruLj u/icnv 

^^c ^rdtij p. ncccii fx vtdct y, p^ctaj ^ . j cjH.ro- 

J ralaxit.iH.rurj,ndj.J^uu TLrhttiltu . xfxu . 



Sic jTxLtuit :Seju.ni y^tti mcutyri^ d,^cri 

^yiiijMj. ./ij mealier cxtiadi .ffiu condidtt uriKm. 
^((.-ril-iu. lLunc'y:j(f/uljjt- tlLi^ '^^^ 

'^ULuJ iimntiuj vtfir^Jico i/uuj siHt-J , 
Quoj jiKuL^r. p'uj (TJ^juj rurjec'ucr rcrjw 



JAN CORNRLISZ SVI.VIIS. 

1646 (H. aSo). 



declaration of faith. Aroimd the oval enframing the bust is an 
inscription, giving the dates of Sylvius' birth and death, and a list 



274 REMBRANDT 

of his various pastorates. Some Latin verses by Van Baerle and 
Scriverius printed below proclaim his virtues, and attest the holiness 
of his life and his entire devotion to his ministerial office. We 
may therefore conclude that the print was a pious souvenir, executed 
for the friends of the good minister, and those he had converted 
by his preaching, or edified by his example. No fitter hand than 
Rembrandt's could have paid this last homage to the beloved 
relative, who had always shown him the most cordial kindness. 

The other portraits with which we are now concerned are 
those of Rembrandt's friends, or of artists with whom he was 
intimate at this period. First among them is the likeness of the 
physician, Ephraim Bueno or Bonus.^ Bonus was the son of a 
distinguished physician and belonged to the community of 
Portuguese Jews at Amsterdam, where civic rights were conferred 
on him in 165 1. Himself an eminent savant, he had evidently 
a taste for the society of artists ; a few years later, Lievens 
etched a fine portrait of him (B. 56). Rembrandt's plate is dated 
1647 (B. 278), and represents Ephraim in a meditative attitude, 
his hand on the balustrade of a staircase. As is the case in several 
of Rembrandt's portraits,^ the arm on which he leans seems 
disproportionately short ; but the head, with its melancholy expression 
and thoughtful gaze, is full of a pensive intelligence. It is not 
unlikely that Ephraim attended Rembrandt or some member of 
his family, and that the master, in acknowledgment of his services, 
painted the little portrait in the Six collection, from which the 
etching was made. The composition is reversed in the latter, 
but the dimensions are almost identical. Another doctor, J. 
Antonides van der Linden, whose portrait (B. 264) Rembrandt 
etched about 1652-1653, was a professor at the University of 
Franeker. He enlarged and re-organised the botanical gardens of 
the town, and Vosmaer supposes Rembrandt to have had this 
benefaction in his mind when he represented the doctor in a 
garden. It may be, however, that the master considered such a 
background the most favourable for the head of the Professor, 
who is painted in his official costume, a gown with a broad velvet 
collar. Another plate of about the same period (B. 282) is 
devoted to one of Rembrandt's earliest patrons and most faithful 
friends, the writing-master Coppenol. The apparent age of the 
sitter is about fifty-five, and Coppenol, we know, was born in 
1598. He is seated beneath a window, his head turned towards 
the spectator, a complacent expression on his full, round face. 
Over his closely cropped hair he wears a black skull-cap. Two 
wooden squares and a pair of compasses hang beside the window. 
His plump, well-shaped hands rest on a sheet of paper; he holds 
in the right a long goose-quill, with which he has just completed 
a capital letter. A boy behind him looks admiringly at his 
master's work. Coppenol had no mean opinion of himself, and 
^ See page 64. 2 See the portraits of Jan Lutma, Old Haaring, and Coppenol. 



REMBRANDT'S FRIENDS 275 

under several impressions, both of this plate and of a later portrait 
by Rembrandt, he wrote, in fine, bold characters, verses in his 
own praise by contemporary poets. Coppenol, however, has a 
claim on our sympathies in spite of his weaknesses. He was one 
of the first to encourage Rembrandt's youthful efforts, and was 
constant when many others abandoned him. The writing-master 
was also a lover of the arts. In the third state of the above 
etching Rembrandt placed a triptych of the Crucifixion on the 
wall beside him, no doubt in allusion to his tastes. 

Jan Six, whose whole length portrait Rembrandt etched in 1647 
(B. 2 85), was an amateur of higher pretensions. His house was a 
museum of beautiful things. He was a bibliophile, and possessed 
a choice collection of engravings, drawings, and pictures by the 
most famous Dutch and Italian masters. His acquaintance with 
Rembrandt dated from 1641 at latest, for we know that the 
master painted his mother's portrait in that year ; a close intimacy 
had gradually grown up between them. Six's wife, Margaretha, 
whom he married in 1655, Rembrandt had, no doubt, often met in 
the house of her father, his early patron Dr.' Tulp. Of Rembrandt's 
genius Six had the highest opinion. He gave substantial proof of 
his admiration by advancing a sum of money to the master in 
1653, on Van Ludik's security. A year after the execution of the 
etching of 1647, ^^ commissioned Rembrandt to undertake another, 
the plate of which is still in the possession of the Six family. This 
was the Marriage of Jason and Creiisa (B. 112), a picturesque 
rendering of one of the principal episodes of Six's tragedy Mcdca} 
Some years later (about 1658-1660) Rembrandt was further 
commissioned to paint the fine portrait of the Burgomaster with 
which we shall deal more fully in a future chapter. 

Several pictures by Rembrandt appear in the catalogue of 
Six's collections, which v»'ere sold on April 6, 1702, after his 
death. They included Lord Dudley's grisaille, the Preaching of 
John the Baptist, a portrait of Saskia, " ot remarkable grace and 
vigour," and the "charming" little picture of 1646 already mentioned, 
Abraham entertaining the Angels. It is evident that Rembrandt was 
anxious to please the distinguished amateur who showed him so 
much kindness. Before embarking upon the plate, he painted the 
preliminary study of the head now in M. Bonnat's collection. In 
arrangement it agrees almost exactly with the etching, though the 
composition is reversed. But his very anxiety militated against the 
complete success of his work. The task he set himself when he 
posed his sitter with his back against an open window, his head 
in relief on a light background of sky, was at once difficult and 
ungrateful. In spite of the great beauty of the execution, the 
contrasts between the dark shadows and the white of the paper are 

^ There seems to be no ground for the assertion that the ])late was intended to figure 
as an illustration in the volume containing the tragedy : McJcc, Trcurspcl ; Amsterdam, 
1648. 

T 2 



276 



REMBRANDT 



too stronglv marked, save in a few of the finest impression';, such 
as one of the second state in the Print Moom of the Louvre. 




1 % v^^ 
'h \ hi J J / 






.a 






CLEMFNT DE JONCIIE. 

1651 (B. 272). 
(Etching : first state.) 



The various accessories by which the master indicates his sitter's 
tastes are barely distinguishable. Some books, a sword and sword- 
belt are laid on a bench behind him. A picture in an ebony frame 



REMBRANDT'S FRIENDS 



277 



hangs against the wall. The modelling of the head is far from fault- 
less, and, in the portions nearest the light, depth and transparency 
are entirely destroyed by the over-loading of the shadows. 

It would be difficult, on the other hand, to conceive of work- 
manship more delicate, expressive, and intelligent than that of the 
Portrait of ClciJicnt de Jojig/ic, dated 1651 (B. 272). The famous 
publisher's shop was one of the best known and most widely 
patronised among those of the printsellers and art-dealers of the 
Kalverstraat, and Rembrandt's passion for collecting naturally 
brought about a considerable traffic between the two, both in the 
way of purchase and of 
exchange. The inventory 
of Clement de Jonghe's 
effects, drawn up after 
his death, and d.itcd 
February 11, 1679, i'"*' 
eludes seventy-four etch- 
ings by Rembrandt. This 
catalogue is of peculiar 
interest, as giving the 
titles by which the plates 
were conmionly known in 
Rembrandt's time. The 
authenticity of several 
amonof them has been 
confirmed by means of 
these titles, and the iden- 
tity of the sitters estab- 
lished, as in the case of 
the portraits of Rem- 
brandt's father and 
mother, his son Titus, 
and others. In the etch- 
ing of 1 65 1 De Jonghe 
is represented sitting in 
an elbow-chair, wrapped 
in a loose cloak, and wear- 
ing a broad-brimmed hat, 
which throws a shadow 

over his face. The characteristic expression — the astute air of one 
versed in all the subtleties of art-traffic — are rendered with inimitable 
ease and sobriety. The portrait is one of Rembrandt's very finest 
prints. We can recall none in which the facility, concision, and breadth 
of the technique bear more eloquent testimony to the ripeness of the 
master's power. 

At the sales he was in the habit of frequenting, the meetings for 
the appraisement of work? of art to which painters were often 
summoned in thcxse days, the shops of dealers such as Dc Jonghe 




CLEMli.NT Dli JONCIli:. 

1651 (H. 272). 
(Etcliing : third state.) 



278 



REMBRANDT 



and Johannes de Renialme, the houses of his cousin Hendrick 
van Uylenborch, of Fransz, and of those collectors who, like Marten 
Kretzer and Herman Becker, combined a certain unofficial traffic 
in pictures with their other avocations,^ Rembrandt must often 
have encountered Claes Berchem. Berchem, who was born at 
Haarlem in 1620, had settled early in his career at Amsterdam. 
Like Rembrandt, he was a collector mainly of Italian prints and 
drawings, for which he occasionally paid high prices. Houbraken 
tells us that he gave sixty florins for Marc Antonio's Massacre of 
the Innocents, after Raphael. Tastes such as this, his devotion to 
his art, and his enthusiasm for Italy, the picturesque scenery of 
which he loved to paint, were all strong recommendations to 
Rembrandt's favour and friendship. An intimacy soon sprang up 
between the two, slight as were their artistic affinities. In Berchem's 
studio Rembrandt may very possibly have encountered another 
landscape-painter, one whose art was more purely Dutch than 
Berchem's, and whose sincerity and poetic temperament had more in 
common with the master's own genius. The attraction between Jacob 
van Ruysdael and Rembrandt must, it is natural to suppose, have been 
a strono- one. Like Rembrandt, Ruysdael lived apart, indifferent to 
the suffrages of his contemporaries. At the time we are now consider- 
ing, he was in the habit of requisitioning Berchem's facile brush for the 
ficrures and animals in his landscapes. No trace of the relations that may 
have existed between the two greatest of the Dutch masters has sur- 
vived. But Rembrandt's friendship with Berchem is formally attested 
by the master's portraits of the landscape-painter and his wife, painted 
in 1647, and now in the Duke of Westminster's collection. Berchem, 
who was twenty-seven years old at this date, wears a broad-brimmed 
hat, and a black costume, relieved by a flat turn-down collar, the 
whiteness of which accentuates the olive tint of his complexion. A 
quantity of black hair surrounds his delicately-featured face ; a black 
beard, and a curling black moustache enhance the vigour of the manly 
head. The wife's frank eyes and fresh complexion, her simple dress, 
the absence of all jewelry save the wedding ring on one of the short, 
serviceable hands, proclaim her an honest, notable soul, full of sound 
sense and housewifely instincts. Rembrandt shows himself at his ease 
with this excellent couple. The broad, yet careful handling, and the 
charm of expression in the two portraits indicate a labour of love. 

One of Rembrandt's finest etched portraits dates from this same 
year and was inspired by another of the Italianiscrs, the landscape- 
painter Jan Asselyn (B. 277). He wears a cloak, thrown jauntily over 
his shoulder and fastened round the waist with a sash. His left hand 
is placed on his hij), his right rests on the table against which he stands. 
In the first state of the etching there is an easel behind him, with one of 
his landscapes upon it ; but this Rembrandt afterwards effaced, no doubt 
because it detracted somewhat from the effect produced by the figure. 

1 See Dr. Bredius' interesting study, D: Kunsthandel te Amsterdam in de XVII. Eeuw^ 
in the Amsicrdamsch Jaarboeckje, 1S91. 



ROELANDT ROGHMAN 279 

The long, regular features have a candid, open expression. Rem- 
brandt skilfully conceals a deformity of his model's hands by means of 
a pair of gloves. Asselyn is said to have suffered from a distortion of 
the fingers which won him the nickname of Crabbetje (little crab) 
among the Dutch painters in Rome. He lived for a considerable time 
in Italy, where he came under the influence of Jan Miel and Pieter de 
Laar. Passing through Lyons on his return to Holland in 1645, ^^ 
married the daughter of an Antwerp merchant settled in that city. At 
this date he was thirty-five years old. He had just established himself 
in Amsterdam when Rembrandt etched this portrait. 

Other landscape-painters whose names are not to be found in the 
list of Rembrandt's sitters were nevertheless among his closest friends. 
Although he took pleasure in the society of some among the Italian- 
tsers, his sympathies rather inclined him to the more original artists 
whose genius was essentially Dutch. We learn from Houbraken that 
the almost forgotten master, Roelandt Roghman, was his closest friend. 
The two had many points of contact. They were united by a common 
devotion to their art, a similarity of sentiment and tastes, and later, by 
their brotherhood in adversity. An ardent student of Nature, as his 
numerous studies of the ruined castles, churches, and monasteries which 
abounded in Holland sufficiently prove, ^ Roghman had a fondness 
for the brown tones affected by Rembrandt, and in his com- 
position and his treatment of chiaroscuro occasionally approached 
the master so closely that his works have been attributed to 
Rembrandt. The two large landscapes signed with his mono- 
gram in the Cassel Gallery long passed for the work of the greater 
master. This ascription was supported by the adroit modification of the 
monogram by a forger. In the fine Hilly Landscape in the Oldenburg 
Museum, signed with Roghman's name in full, a work we take to be 
his masterpiece, the effort is more concentrated ; the colour, though no 
less harmonious, has greater brilliance and variety, and the blue sky, 
with its floating white clouds, blends very happily with the warm, trans- 
parent tones of the landscape. Roghman, who had travelled much, 
was also an engraver, and has left a considerable number of plates, 
among them two sets of views, one of places in the neighbourhood of 
Amsterdam, the other of the most picturesque spots in Holland. - 

There is a higher art and a deeper study of nature in his set of 
landscapes illustrating the scenery of the IVood, near the Hague, which 
occasionally suggest Ruysdael. For Roghman, his senior by some ten 
years, Rembrandt had a warm affection. Jan Griffier, a pupil of the 
elder master, is said to have deserted his studio, and to have presented 
himself to Rembrandt, begging to be enrolled among his scholars. 
Rembrandt, however, promptly dismissed him, declaring himself too 

1 Many of these drawings are in the Six collection, the Teyler Museum, and the 
Amsterdam Print Room, and have an historic interest apart from their great facility of 
execution. 

2 Plaisante LaiiiscJiappoi na i' Lcven ^etccckcndt door Koelant Roghiuan, ^cdruckt by 
Vyscher. 



28o 



REMBRANDT 



much attached to Roghni'in to steal away his pupils. Neglected by his 
contemporaries, the unfortunate Roghman found himself at last com- 
pletely abandoned. He remarked, with pardonable bitterness, that 
"he had gained knowledge and experience only to find that he had no 
use for them." Poverty overtook him in his old age. He was reduced 
to the shelter of an almshouse in i6S6, and died there, having survived 
his friend many years. 

Hercules Seghers, a landscape-painter even more unfortunate than 
Roghman, was no less generously appreciated by Rembrandt. It 
seems unlikely, however, that there was much intercourse between the 

two, taking into account 
the difference in their re- 
spective ages. The date 



of Seo-hers' birth is nol; 

o 

known, but he was prac- 
tising in Amsterdam so 
early as 1607, and traces 
of him are to be found 
from time to time till 1630. 
r]y virtue no less of his 
aspirations than of his 
actual achievenients, Seg- 
hers deserves to rank 
among those pioneers who 
led the way to the emanci- 
pation of Dutch art, and 
proclaimed its true voca- 
tion. After a life of con- 
stant struggle with poverty 
he was reduced to selling 
his plates at starvation 
prices, and even to cutting 
them up in order to make 
some trifling profit on 
them. His prints were 
mainly appreciated by his 
grocer and fruiterer, who 




J. A.N 1 UMlJliS VA.N 1-1-K I.IMJl.N. 

About 1653 (B- 264). 



used them to wrap up their goods. His iriisfortunes seem to have 
persisted, even beyond the grave, for all his works have disappeared, 
with the exception of two pictures, the Dtitch Landscape in the Berlin 
Museum, a wide plain with a distant town beside a canal, and the 
fine landscape in the Uffizi, known as The Slorin, and long ascribed 
to Rembrandt.^ 

Yet Seghers was one of the most prolific artists of his day. No 
less than thirty-six of his pictures, some among them of consiclerable 
importance, appear in the inventory of Johannes de Renialme's effects, 

Mts restitution to Seghers was due to Dr. Bode. An engraving of this landscape, 
bearing Seghers" name, has lately come to Hglu, confirming Dr. Bode's pronnunrcment. 



HERCULES SEGHERS 



2S1 



dated 1644. Both in his pictures and engravings Seghers foreshadows 
those panoramic expanses of plains and waters, of alternate bands of 
light and shadow, the picturesque aspects of which were afterwards 
more fully developed by Vermeer of Haarlem, and Philips de Koninck. 
As an engraver Seghers was an experimentalist, eager to improve and 
extend the resources of his art. He attempted, not without a certain 
measure of success, to invent a process for printing in colours on pre- 
pared paper or stuffs, and exasperated his wife by requisitioning the 
scanty household linen for his experiments, the variety of which is at- 
tested by the rich collection of examples in the Ryksmuseum. They 
consist for the most part of views in the Tyrol, the skies slightly tinted, 
the brown tones of the rocks relieved by the greenish-blues of the 
backgrounds. Absorbed in such researches, the poor artist sank deeper 



^ 






M^^^-wM^ 






■^^■t >-> J 



.«,.ilWjUI^ 




A LANDSCAli;. 

Fen drawing, heightened wiih sepia (Heseltiiie Collection). 



and deeper into difficulties, and finally sought solace for his misfortunes 
in drink. He is said to have been killed by a fall from the top of a 
staircase. Rembrandt vvas naturally attracted by efforts so interesting 
and suggestive. He professed the warmest admiration for Seghers' 
talents, and we know from his inventory that he owned six of his 
pictures, one a very important examj^le. He also possessed Seghers' 
])late of Tobias and the Angel, which it occurred to him to improve by 
certain modifications. He accordingly replaced the original group 
by a Flight into Egypt (B. 56) — the Virgin with the Infant Jesus in 
her arms, seated on an ass led by St. Josej)h. Dissatisfied with the 
result, however, he threw it aside without signature.^ 

Rembrandt's relations with these landscape-painters, and his 

^ Seghers' plate itself was only a co]iy, with very slight modifications, of an engraving 
executed in 1613 by Count Goudt, the friend of Elsheuner. 



282 REMBRANDT 

admiration for their works, attest his deep love of nature. As yet 
uncertain of his own course, his allegiance was divided between 
the devotees of Italian convention and the more purely Dutch artists. 
Sincere and exact as he always showed himself in his studies from 
nature, he continued to draw occasionally upon his imagination, and 
to group the picturesque elements of his works in a somewhat 
arbitrary fashion. A small night-piece dated 1647, formerly in 
Sir Henry Hoare's collection, and lately purchased for the Dublin 
Gallerv, is remarkable for its transparent shadows, and mysterious 
serenity of sentiment. The subject is The Holy Family resting in 
Egypt} The fugitives, surrounded by animals, are seated near a fire, 
the lio-ht of which is reflected in a quiet pool in the foreground. The 
picture is little more than a sketch, founded on a composition of 
Elsheimer's, to which the master has added a breadth and poetry all his 
own. In The Ruin, a landscape in the Cassel Museum, painted about 
1650, Rembrandt returns to the complex and somewhat incoherent 
composition of his early landscapes. The various details — the 
windmill, carefully sheltered from the wind, and planted on the bank 
of a running stream, the boat with flags, the swan, the little horseman 
in a red cloak, and a huge turban, the unmistakably Italian mountains, 
and the purely Dutch cottages, the foaming cascades, and the temple 
of Tivoli, rising from a precipitous rock — all are familiar to us, not 
only in Rembrandt's own works, but in those of the Italianisers from 
whom he borrowed. These details he gleaned from many an 
eno-ravino- and drawing, blending them into fantastic unity in one 
picture. His own originality found scope only in the masterly 
treatment of general effect, in the instinctive subordination of values 
to the main harmony, and in the powerful, but delicately adjusted 
contrasts between the high tones of the sky, and the strong tints of the 
landscape. In the Landscape zi'it/i Szuans, which belongs to Madame 
Lacroix, a work of about the same period, the composition, though 
superficially simpler, is no less complex. A group of lofty trees, the 
outline of which we recognise in many other drawings by Rembrandt ; 
a bridge, towards which a carriage full of people advances ; in the 
foreground, a dark pool on which are two swans, and a small boat ; 
under some trees to the right a flaming forge and a blacksmith at 
work; in the background, a confused mass of slopes, towers, windmills, 
aqueducts, a village, &c. — make up a somewhat bewildering sum of 
details. It must "be allowed, however, that there are no incongruous 
elements in the scene, the effect of daylight is skilfully rendered, and 
the golden tones of the background melt into pleasant harmony with 
the pale blues of the luminous sky. The canvas is not in absolutely 
first-rate condition, but is on the whole fairly well preserved, and 
the general effect is brilliant and animated. The latest of these 
painted landscapes, the Windmill, formerly in the Orleans collection, 
and now at Bowood, is the masterpiece of the whole series. It may 
possibly be a composition, but this it would be difficult to determine 
* Ii would seem to be rather a Bivouac of Shepherds. — F. W, 




\n 5 






LANDSCAPES PAINTED BY REMBRANDT 283 

from the arrangement, and the general effect, which is still more 
homogeneous than that of the Landscape with Siuans, has all the 
appearance of a direct inspiration from nature. A windmill surrounded 
by a few cottages rises from a hillock above a watercourse. The 
lower part only is illuminated. The outline is relieved against a wild 
and stormy sky. The sun has sunk below the horizon, but his last 
rays gild the broad wings of the mill; below, the water, the banks and 
the distant landscape melt into the gathering shadows ; a silence, as 
of advancing night, broods upon the scene. The spectator seems to 
hear the beat of water against some boat at anchor, and the furtive 
flight of an unseen bird in the thicket. A solemn calm descends 
upon the earth. Here the details are better chosen and less 
complicated ; and instead of distracting the attention, they enhance 
the melancholy poetry of the landscape. Rembrandt's studies were 
bearing fruit. He dared to be simple, to reject those complexities 
and artifices which had no part in nature, and to rely on realities 
for his effects. At no period of his career do his drawings and 
etchings furnish stronger proofs of his constant and sincere 
communion with nature. As was his invariable habit, he turned 
his attention to the things and events he saw around him. On 
the 7th of July, 1652, the Town-hall of Amsterdam was partially 
destroyed by fire. On the 9th of the same month he made a drawing 
of the ruins (Heseltine Collection), a most minute and careful study, 
as we find by comparing it with a picture by T. Beerstraten, in the 
Ryksmuseum, painted from a similar point of view. In his occasional 
wanderings outside the city the most humble spots attracted him. 
In the presence of Nature, no matter in how lowly a guise, he seemed 
to disregard the promptings of his own exuberant imagination, and 
copied the scene before him with the most scrupulous fidelity. He 
accepted the austere monotony of her lines ; and drew from her 
very poverty the means of expression. The simplest motives sufficed 
to charm him ; the corner of a meadow, a country road winding 
along the plain, a crazy shed, a rustic cabin shaded by some stunted 
tree. He, the painter of the poor, the wretched, the forsaken, now 
shows us the places where they live and sufter. He paints the 
land of the Bcgi^ars, in all its desolation, the land they had twice 
redeemed, once from the fury of the sea, once from the more cruel 
frenzy of the Spaniard. The love of the patriot for this territory 
was intense in proportion to the price he had paid for it. To 
Rembrandt, every aspect of his native country was beautiful. He 
never went beyond it, and his wanderings even within its limits 
were sufficiently circumscribed. His travels were confined to the 
quiet suburbs of Amsterdam — Slotcn, Laren, Loencn, and the Castle 
of Kronenburg — to the mills of Zaandam, to the coast hamlets, 
Naarden, Diemen, and Muiderberg, where Sylvius' son was minister ; 
to Jan Six's house at Elsbroeck, to the Receiver Uytenbogaerd's home 
at Goeland, and to the various asylums offered him in his adversity 
by a few staunch friends. The priceless series of drawings purchased 



284 



REMBRANDT 



by an ancestor of the present Duke of Devonshire from the son 
of Rembrandt's pupil, Govert FHnck, to whom they originally 
belonged, were probably executed during one of his temporary 
sojourns among trees and fields. Rejoicing in the momentary respite 
from cares and creditors, the great painter sought solace from Nature, 
the friend who had never forsaken him. The various drawinofs of 




AN A S 5 E L Y M. 

1643 (13. 277). 



this scries — several of which we reproduce in facsimile — were no doubt 
originally the leaves of a sketch-book. They were probably all 
produced at the same period, and certainly in the same place. Every 
aspect of the scenery — which we believe to be that of some district 
close to Amsterdam — is carefully recorded by the master. He notes 
the flat coast, the wide watery expanses, the level horizons against 
which every inequality shows out in strong relief, the groups of trees 



STUDIES OF LANDSCAPE 285 

clustering about scattered clwellings, the passing boats, their sails 
swelling to the breeze, the cottages nestling one against another, 
as if to ofter a braver front to the winds that sweep the plain, a village 
spreading along the banks of a stream, a fisherman's hut, with nets 
drying in the sun. The most casual incident becomes a picture, 
so firm and precise is the outline of each object, so exact and truthful 
the modellinfT. In most of these drawino-s, the outline is lio;htlv traced 
with a pen ; the work is then heightened with washes of Indian 
ink or bistre, by means of which the diversity of local values and 
planes is suggested with extraordinary delicacy and firmness. Very 
often the master returns to the same spot, and following up his 



^ 



( 



i i-- '^ ^ 









RUINS OF THE AMSTEKUAM TOWN HALL. 

I'cn drawing, heightened with wash (Hescltine Collection). 



practice in the treatment of the human model, hovers about a 
landscape, seeking its most picturesque aspect. He sketches it 
from a distance of some few paces, endeavouring by such careful 
examination to solve the problems of form and effect, and to discover, 
under the infinite variety of nature, the complex laws which regulate 
her superficial aspects, and determine the unity of a landscape. 

Among the Chatsworth drawings we find numerous examples 
of such reiterated studies from a single motive, made during a 
summer visit to the country. We might multiply instances ; but 
the comparison of those we have selected for "reproduction, such as 
the clump of high trees by the waterside, and the Gothic gateway 



286 REMBRANDT 

at the entrance of a town, will convince our readers of Rembrandt's 
predilection for methods to which we have already several times 
referred. By means of this uncompromising fidelity the master 
gave an interest to the most ordinary motives, an interest often 
extrinsic, born of the art with which he seized upon the essential 
features of a scene, and the science and ingenuity with which he 
expressed them. 

His etchings of this period have the same sincerity of conception, 
the same firmness of treatment, that mark these drawings. An 
exception should perhaps be made in the case of the Laiidscape with 
a Canal and Siu cms (B. 235), dated 1650, and The Sportsman (B. 211), 
a plate executed probably some years later. In these, there is an 
evident blending of fact and fancy. The mountains in the distance 
are ill adapted to the foregrounds, and bear a strong likeness to 
those of the Ruin, which was painted at about the same date. The 
other etched landscapes of this period are remarkable for their perfect 
cohesion and homogeneity, and, like the drawings, were evidently 
studied in the open, face to face with nature. We must be content 
to enumerate some of the most picturesque among them, as the 
Village luith a Square Tower (B. 218), x\i^ Arched Landscape with 
a Flock of Sheep (B. 224), the Canal (B. 221) w-ith its fringe of leafless 
trees, their forms most firmly and truthfully rendered, the Peasant 
carrying Milk-pails (B. 213) with the crazy hovels by the waterside, 
the Village 7iear the High-road (B. 217), the Aj^chcd Landscape 
ivith an Obelisk (B. 227), which takes its name from a monument 
the master has also introduced in one of his drawings, a landmark 
some two miles from Amsterdam, with an inscription indicating its 
distance from the city. Two of the plates executed at this period 
claim special mention, their truth of conception and extreme sobriety 
of workmanship giving them a place apart. These are the Landscape 
with a mined Tozuer (B. 223),^ the spirited effect of which is obtained 
by the simplest means, and the Goldweigher s Field oi 165 1 (B. 234), 
a print no less free and facile in treatment, and perhaps even more 
effective. Within the narrow limits of this plate, the master suggests, 
with incomparable knowledge and precision, the various planes of a 
wide champaign, the plantations of a great estate, a mansion surrounded 
by a wood, with its outbuildings and dependencies, the adjacent 
villages, and, beyond, the broad line of ocean, stretching away to 
the horizon. With a few careless strokes of the point, he defines 
the site, and the salient features of his landscape. He then elaborates 
its details, bringing out the characteristic growth of the various trees, 
and finally gives colour and completeness to the whole by a few 
emphatic touches, applied with unerring science. Even in these 
swift and summary renderings of nature, improvisations rather than 
studies, we are struck by the intimate harmony between the method 
of expression and the desired effect. A mind so entirely absorbed 

^ Called 7nore properly by Monsieur Charles Blanc, '^ Fay sage a la Tour" — there being 
indeed little indicatio7i of '■'■ruin''' in the first state, with the dome. — F. IV. 




I'l I-.- I li , D 



STUDIES OF ANIMALS 287 

in art and its various developments was naturally attracted to 
experimental processes. Evidences of such attraction are to be 
found in a plate of several sketches (B. 364), where Rembrandt 
seems to have tried the effect of a broad point to produce rich, 
intense blacks, in contrast to the white tone of the paper. The 
authenticity of this plate has been questioned. We believe it, however, 
to be the work of the master. The impression in the British Museum 
has strong presumptive evidence in its favour, for it originally formed 
part of Houbraken's collection. But we rely more confidently on its 
analogies with plates such as the Village near the High-road (B. 217) 
and the Landscape li'itk a Vista, dated 1652 (B. 222), in which the 
treatment of masses of foliage is almost identical. An etching dated 
1650, the Shell (B. 159), is yet another instance of RemJDrandt's 
scrupulous observation, and fidelity to Nature. It is interesting to 
find the great artist, in the full maturity of his genius, giving himself 
up to the minute and careful reproduction of a sea-shell, which doubt- 
less was one of the many curiosities of his home. 

The most ordinary objects arrest his attention, and help him to 
further knowledge. His passion for self-improvement persisted 
throughout his life, and evinces itself at this period of his career in 
numerous studies of animals. The Good Samaritan and the Pacifi- 
cation of Holland attest great advance in the treatment of horses. 
Turenne's charger is certainly an awkwardly constructed beast, but 
Dr. Bode mentions an admirably painted horse of smaller size in the 
equestrian portrait of a Hungarian magnate, executed about 1654, and 
now in Galicia.^ 

In the pictures, drawings, and etchings of this period we find 
cattle, asses, &c., more correctly drawn than in earlier works, and 
it was about this time that Rembrandt made his first studies of 
lions. We have noted his grotesque treatment of the lions in his 
St. Jerome, and the Lion Himts. A travelling menagerie passino- 
through Amsterdam probably gave him opportunities of observing 
their structure and attitudes. He threw himself with great ardour 
into the study, and produced some twenty drawings.^ He seems 
to have had some difticulty in seizing their characteristics, for 
several of the drawings are insignificant, and fail to suggest the 
dignity of leonine movement and expression. There are others, 
however, in which the types and forms are most admirably rendered, 
as, for instance, M. Bonnat's studies of two crouching lions, formerly 
in the Russell collection in England, where they were the admiration 
of Landseer ; the lion with eyes voluptuously closed, gnawing at a 
bone between his paws; the study in the British Museum, of a lion 
emaciated by long captivity, whose mournful air and rcsio-ned 

1 Studien, p. 499, Dr. Bode saw this portrait in Vienna, whither it had been sent by 
its owner for restoration. 

2 There are examples in the pubHc collections at Berlin, Dresden, Frankfort, Munich, 
in the Albertina, the Louvre, the British Museum, the Teyler Museum, and in the 
collections of Messrs. Heseltine, Bonnat, Dutuit, <>,:c. 



288 



REMBRANDT 



dignity of bearing agree so perfectly with the Latin inscription 
written below the sketch : 

Jam piger et longo jacet exarmatus ab oevo ; 
Magna tamcn facies et non adeunda senectus. 




T O B I r BLIND. 

T651 (B. 4-')- 



The two studies of lionesses, one eating, the other sleeping, also in 
the British Museum, are no less remarkable. 

The large curiosity, the love of nature and of life so character- 
istic of Rembrandt, were important factors in his art-teaching at 



1^/ 























REMBRANDT'S PUPILS 



289 



this period. We have shown that he had lost ground considerably 
in popular favour, but he retained his prestige as the greatest of 
contemporary masters among the artists of his day, and a large number 
of pupils continued to frequent his studio. It seems to have been 
acknowledged that instruction at once so thorough and so lofty was 
unattainable elsewhere. Both as painter and engraver, Rembrandt's 
reputation was incontestable, and he had proved his capacity in every 
genre he had attempted. He was further justly reputed a kind and 
generous master, careful of the comfort and liberty of his pupils. 
Scholars were attracted to his studio from all quarters, not only of 
Holland, but of neighbouring countries. We are dealing with the life 
of Rembrandt, and not with that of his followers. We must therefore 
be content with a brief mention of the most important, in which we 
shall dwell more particularly on those aspects of their history which 
throw light on that of the master. Germany sent him several scholars, 
among them Michiel Willemans, the engraver Ulric Mayr of Augsburg, 
and Franz Wulfhagen 




VILLAGE WITH A SQUARE TOWER. 
1650 (R. 2l8). 



of Bremen. The Saxon, 
Christophel Paudiss, born 
about 161S, had preceded 
them to Amsterdam. His 
pictures suffer from a cer- 
tain want of vigour in the 
tonality ; but Rembrandt's 
influence over him per- 
sisted, and is apparent in 
his treatment of chiaros- 
curo. His powers may 
be very fully estimated by 
the numerous examples of 
his works in the Belve- 
dere, where he is represented by religious subjects, portraits, and 
rustic scenes. The Contract attributed to him in the Dresden 
Museum (No. 1994 i^^ the Catalogue) is really by Aert de Gelder, 
and to this we shall return presently. Juriaen Ovens, who was born 
at Toenningen in Holstein in 1623, and was living at Amsterdam so 
late as 1662, was also a pupil of Rembrandt's. He was distinguished 
as a clever portraitist, and very expeditious workman, and must have 
enjoyed a considerable reputation, for he numbered persons of import- 
ance, such as the Seven Regents of the Miuiicipat Alnislwusc, among 
his sitters (1650). His manner in works of this class approaches that 
of Van der Heist, and even that of Van Dyck ; but a large picture in 
the Nantes Museum, dated 1651, Tobias making ready to rttinn to his 
Father, shows plainly, both in composition and effect, that Rembrandt's 
teaching never lost its hold upon him. The Dane, Bernard Kcilh or 
Keilham, born at Helsingborg in 1625, remained eight years with 
Rembrandt. He left Amsterdam in 1656 for Italy, where he died in 
1687. His works are very rare. A picture by him in his native 

U 



2 90 REMBRANDT 

country, a Sculptor, showing his statues to a friend by lamp-light, was 
evidently conceived under the master's influence. But in two later 
and more important works, formerly in Mayence Cathedral, and now 
in the church of Loerzweiler (in Hesse), the skilful and highly conven- 
tional manner has close affinities with that of the later Bolognese 
school, so much admired in Italy at the period. Keilh, however, has 
a title to our respect in his faithful attachment to his master, and we are 
indebted to him for various interesting details of Rembrandt's character 
and habits, which he communicated to Baldinucci, who incorporated 
them in a study we have already quoted more than once. 

As was natural, however, the Dutch contingent was the most 
important and numerous among Rembrandt's scholars. Govert Flinck 
and Ferdinand Bol, it is true, renounced his manner for a brighter 
and more popular style, impelled either by calculation or natural 
inclination. Official honours and commissions were diverted to 
their studios ; but, nevertheless, Rembrandt continued the head of 
a national school. Many of the young men who gathered round 
him are known only by documents in which their names are mentioned, 
their works having entirely disappeared. At a meeting of experts, 
convened September i6, 1653, by Abraham de Cooge, an art-dealer 
at Amsterdam, to determine the authorship of a reputed work of 
Paul Brill/ various artists and connoisseurs of Amsterdam, Hendrick 
van Uylenborch, Marten Kretzer, Lodewyck van Lndik, B. 
Breembergh, B. Van der Heist, Philips de Koninck and Willem 
Kalff beinsf associated with him as witnesses, Rembrandt attested 
the authenticity of the picture by his signature, supported by that of 
two of his pupils : Jan van Glabbeck and Jacobus Levecq.^ We have 
not been able to discover any work by the former ; but Mr. George 
Salting owns a male portrait, painted by Levecq in 1665, an example 
in which the considerable talent of the artist shows stronger affinities 
with Van Dyck than with Rembrandt. None of the works of another 
pupil, Heymann Dullaert, can now be traced. His name occurs jointlj^ 
with that of a fellow-student, Johan Hindrichsen, as witness to a 
deed, dated March 28, 1653, empowering one Frans de Coster to collect 
certain sums of money due to Rembrandt. Dullaert, we learn from 
Houbraken, painted interiors with figures ; he was further a 
poet, a good musician, and an agreeable singer. Adriaen Verdoel, 
probably a pupil of Leonard Bramer, is said by Houbraken to 
have also received instruction from Rembrandt. Like Dullaert, 
he was a poet, and, indeed, laureate of the Chamber of Rhetoric 
at Flushing. We may further mention Cornelis Drost, whose 
Magdalene at the Feet of Chidst in the Cassel Museum is very 
Rembrandtesque in sentiment, and two other pupils or imitators 
of the master at this period, Jacob van Dorst, whose male portrait, 

^ Oud-IIoIIa/id, Ktwstkritick der XVII. Eeuw^ by A. Bredius. 

* Like many of Rembrandt's pupils, Levecq was a native of Dordrecht. Mr. G. Veth 
has published a series of interesting articles dealing with him and his compatriots in 
Oiid-IIolland. Levecq, as is well known, became Houbraken's master. 




<: 



GO 



O^ 



NICOLAS MAES AND CAREL FABRITIUS 291 

in the Dresden Gallery, is redeemed from vulgarity by its soft 
golden tone, and G. Horst, the author of a Continence of Scipio. 
Hendrick Heerschop, born in 1620 or 1621, studied for a while 
under Claesz Heda, and entered Rembrandt's studio about 1644. 
He engraved, in imitation of the master's manner, a St. Jcronte 
and a Susanna at the Bath, by no means remarkable for their 
distinction. In the Amsterdam Museum there is Erichthonius by 
him, a somewhat vulgar composition, and in the Cassel Gallery a 
Card-Player, a soldier with an ugly girl, treated in the manner of Dirck 
Hals. C. Renesse also received some lessons from Rembrandt about 
1649, 3^^^ we find that he made use of the master's studies of lions 
for two of his drawings, a St. Jerome dated 1652, in the Teyler 
Museum, and a Daniel in the Lions Den in the Boymans Museum. 
An inscription by his own hand on the back of the second drawing 
informs us that he had "shown it to Rembrandt, October i, 1649, the 
second time he went to him." Renesse delighted in such studies 
of animal life. He introduced them in various carefully executed 
engravings, as for instance the Joseph sold by his Brethren, in which 
he has drawn a group of camels, and the Child devotired by a Bear, 
a plate dated 1653. Vosmaer mentions a Family Group by him 
in the Czernin collection at Vienna, as remarkable for the truth of its 
chiaroscuro. An Old Woman readiiig, attributed to him, which 
appeared at the exhibition of works by the Old Masters at the Hague 
in 1890, attracted much attention, partly by reason of the strange type 
of the sitter, but more especially in virtue of its brilliant colour and force 
of expression. We must add that the ascription to Renesse was purely 
conjectural. To a recent discovery made by Dr. Bredius among the 
archives we owe our knowledge of the fact that Esaias Boursse, the 
rival of Pieter de Hooch, was also one of Rembrandt's disciples. 
Born at Amsterdam about 1630, Boursse practised in his native city 
from 1656 to 1672, and, like his fellow-student Jan Victors, made 
several voyages to India, in the East India Company's service. 
Pictures by him, in which a perfect knowledge of effect gives the utmost 
value to strong, yet delicate colour, are to be found in the Suermondt 
Gallery at Aix-la-Chapelle, the Wallace collection at Hertford House, 
the Berlin Museum, and the Ryksmuseum. 

There remain two of Rembrandt's pupils who claim a place 
apart. The one, Nicolas Maes, worked under the master from 
1650 to 1653. The works he produced after quitting Rembrandt's 
studio bear eloquent witness to the excellence of the teaching he 
had received. These works are mainly portraits, very character- 
istically treated, or familiar subjects : a servant asleep over her 
work, or engaged in some household duty, or spying upon her 
employers ; or, more often still, old women at a spinning-wheel, or 
at a meal, or praying. But the painter's genius gives a wonderful 
elevation to these simple themes, many of which are treated with 
a curious modernism. His colour is generally deep and vigorous ; 
rich reds and intense blacks are very happily blended with delicate 

U 2 



292 



REMBRANDT 



iron-gray tones, while a piquant note is added to the harmonv 
by the introduction of some homely utensil such as a stone jar 
with a blue pattern, or a red earthen bowl. The handling, at once 
broad and supple, is full of the most masterly decision. The finest 
examples are to be found in Holland and in English collections 
(the National Gallery, Buckingham Palace, Lord Ashburton's, etc.). 
The contrast between these beautiful works and the portraits painted 
by Maes towards the close of his career is so startling, that certain 
critics, unable to accept the theory of a change of style so radical, 
have suggested the existence of another painter of the same name. 




"--.'In, 



^^v.^l'i^ 






4''' ~)M. ^T-lii-j,"^' 




^^yir^^m^V-' 



A KOAD TlIl^OUGH A WOOD. 

Pen drawing (Duke of Devonshire). 



There are, however, documents which dispose of this supposition. 
Maes had already a considerable vogue as a portrait-painter when, 
on the occasion of a visit to Antwerp, he was fascinated by the 
works of Rubens and Van Dyck. He forthwith abandoned his 
early manner in favour of a lighter and gayer system of colouring, 
a looser and more fluent touch, and a meretricious grace and elegance 
that delighted his wealthy patrons. A male portrait in the Brussels 
Museum (No. 2>33 i^ the Catalogue) seems to have been painted 
in the period of transition from his early to his later manner. We 
note a premonitory jarring of the harmonies, purplish tones side by 
side with somewhat crude vermilions. The drawing is less firm, 




<> 



^ 



PHILIPS DE KOXIXCK 



293 



the handling tamer and less characteristic, and there are traces 
of that triviality which becomes so marked in later works. 

The other pupil, Carel Fabritius, had his life been spared to 
fulfil the promise of his youth, might have won a place in the first 
rank of Dutch painters. Born in 1624, he was killed in the 
flower of his age by the explosion of the powder-magazine at 
Delft, on October 12, 1654, while engaged on a portrait of 
the sacristan, Simon Decker. His evil fortune pursued him even 
beyond the grave, and his masterpiece, the fine portrait-group of 
the Van der Yin family, perished in the fire at the Boymans 
Museum in Rotterdam. The rare examples of his art now 
extant show how greatly he had profited by Rembrandt's teach- 
ing. The study of a head in the Rotterdam Museum is a work 
not easily forgotten. Its impressiveness is due in some measure 
to the peculiarity of the type, with its piercing eyes and long 
black hair, but still more to the energetic character of the treat- 
ment. Madame Lacroix's 




LANDSCAPE WITH AN GIUI. 

About 1650 (U. 227). 



pretty study of a gold- 
finch chained to a feeding- 
trough, with its sunlit 
backcjround, is a little o^em 
of light and brilliance, and 
a work of a very different 
order, the Sentinel in the 
Schwerin Museum, also 
dated 1654 (the year of 
the painter's death), attests 
the versatility and origin- 
ality of his genius. Bern- 
hard Fabritius, probably 
Carel's brother, if not actually Rembrandt's pupil, was greatly in- 
fluenced by the master, as is evident from his essays in chiaroscuro, 
and the harmonious blending of tones in his best works, such, for 
instance, as his St. Peter in the House of Coi^nelius, in the Brunswick 
Gallery (dated 1653), and the so-called Baptism of St. John (1666) 
in the Habich collection at Cassel.^ 

As a teacher it was Rembrandt's constant endeavour to make 
his instruction so catholic as to fit his pupils to deal with every 
variety of subject. We know that Ferdinand Bol and Govert 
Flinck had been trained to study the backgrounds of their 
compositions from nature. Gerbrandt van den Eeckhout, whose 
relations with the master were more lasting, continued through- 
out his career to produce those spirited sketches of landscape, 
tinted with water-colour, now so much coveted by collectors. 
Philips de Koninck, immediately after his emancipation from 
Rembrandt's studio in 1646, began to produce the panoramic 
views, in which he approaches the master's manner so closely 
^ The greater part of this collection has lately been acquired by the National Gallery. 



294 REMBRANDT 

that his works have been occasionally ascribed to Rembrandt. 
Treating the same motives as Vermeer of Haarlem, but ani- 
mating the wide tracts of country he loved to render with richer 
and warmer tones, he excelled in rendering the mobile shadows 
of vast gray clouds sailing across the plain, and far horizons 
marked by the broad belt of the distant sea. His masterpiece, 
The StoriUy formerly in the possession of the Comte de Vence, 
and now in Lord Lindsay's collection, \ox\^ passed for the work of 
Rembrandt, and was engraved as such. The motives are those De 
Koninck habitually treated : watercourses of varying heights, dividing 
an expanse of sparse yellowish vegetation into parallel strips. But the 
artist surpasses himself in this fine work, and a most impressive and 
poetic effect is won by opposing the warm, bright tints of the sunlit 
sand-dunes to the gray background of rolling clouds. 

Landscape had now been admitted by Rembrandt to a place so 
important in his mivre, that it naturally became a favourite branch of 
study with many of his later pupils. Pure landscape-painters gradually 
arose in his school. But none attained the mastery of Philips de 
Koninck, anci most of those who are mentioned as his disciples or imi- 
tators are now forgotten. We find small trace of Rembrandt's influence 
in the works of Leupenius, who is known to us only in drawings, notably 
a View of the Amstel, in the Fodor Museum, and a few insignificant 
etchings. Neither is it very apparent in the case of Jacob Esselens, 
whom Vosmaer mentions as one of the master's scholars, and who is 
represented by a landscape in the style of Poelemburgh in the 
Brunswick Museum, and in the Copenhagen and Rotterdam 
Museums by northern landscapes, with huntsmen and animals, 
executed with a light and facile touch, which also distinguishes 
his sketches. Rembrandt's teaching is more evident in the case 
of Farnerius, who frequented his studio from about 1640 to 1645. 
There is an admirable pen-drawing, tinted with water-colour, by 
him in the Teyler Museum, in which the chiaroscuro is very deli- 
cately treated. Lambert Doomer's indebtedness to the master is 
still more obvious. Thanks to the liberality of Dr. Bredius, the 
Ryksmuseum has lately (1890) become possessed of a picture 
by him, singularly modern in treatment. It represents a woman 
washing clothes at a fountain, from which a man is drawing water. 
Beside them is a group of large trees, the vigorous colour of 
which is effectively relieved against a luminous white sky. 

The marine-painter, Jan van de Cappelle, if not Rembrandt's pupil, 
was at least his friend and admirer. A native of Amsterdam, Van 
de Cappelle's name first appears among the list of citizens on 
July 29, 1653. The date of his birth is not known. His devotion 
to his art, the distinction of his style, the researches into the 
mysteries of chiaroscuro, to which his pictures and the two 
Winter Scenes he etched bear witness, no doubt appealed strongly 
to Rembrandt's sympathies. This master, the greatest of the 
Dutch sea-painters, is only to be properly appreciated in England, 



JAN VAN DE CAPELLE 



295 



which boasts many fine examples of his work, in the National 
Gallery, and the great private, collections. He has all Willem van 
de Velde's knowledge with greater variety. His execution is 
broader and less dry than that of his rival, his colour equally deli- 
cate, but richer, his illumination more justly diffused. Unlike the 
generality of his brethren. Van de Cappelle was a man of means. 
His fortune, however, was derived, not from his art, but from some 
dye-works inherited from his father, which he, in his turn, bequeathed 
to his children. He died January ist, 1680, leaving, according to 
the inventory of his effects lately discovered by Dr. Bredius, 




A WOMAN IN BED, ASLEEP. 

Pen drawing (Heseltine Collection). 



money to the value of 30,000 florins, a very considerable sum in 
those days, a superb collection of two hundred pictures, and some 
thousands of drawings, among them five hundred by Rembrandt, 
which are classified according to their subjects as " landscapes, historical 
subjects, and ' studies of womanhood and childhood.'" One hundred 
come under the latter category. Among the pictures are several b\- 
Frans Hals and by Rembrandt, both of whom painted Van de Cappelle's 
portrait. Of Rembrandt's portrait all trace has been lost. It may 
possibly be a picture in Lord Carlisle's collection at Castle Howard, 
described by Dr. Bode^ as the j^ortrait of a friend or pupil of Rem- 
brandt, painted about 1648, the date of the portraits of Berchcm and 

^ Ijodc, Sti/die/i, p. 49S. 



ag6 REMBRANDT 

Asselyn. The model is a young artist in a dark dress and high hat, 
holding an album of studies in his hand. 

We may close the list of those among Rembrandt's scholars we have 
selected for mention with the name of Samuel van Hoogstraaten. Born 
at Dordrecht August 2nd, 1627, Hoogstraaten learnt the rudiments of 
his art from his father, and entered Rembrandt's studio at Amsterdam in 
1640, remaining under his guidance till 1650. He then travelled, visiting 
Vienna, Rome,'and London. Returning to the Hague in 1668, he finally 
settled in his native town, where he was appointed Director of the Mint. 
The eager curiosity of his temperament manifested itself no less in his 
studies than in his wandering life. He essayed every branch of his ^H 
art, portraits, landscape, genre, sea-pieces, architectural subjects, and J^H 
still life. He was further a man of liberal and cultivated mind, given |^H 
to reasoning and philosophising over his art. It is from this side that 
his personality has a special interest for us. In the work he wrote for 
the instruction of his numerous pupils in after-life, the Introduction to 
Paintinf^} it is possible to recognise his master's ideas in many of 
the theories he formulates. During his novitiate Hoogstraaten seems 
to have been in the habit of plying Rembrandt with inquiries on every 
possible subject, which the master received with the utmost patience 
and kindness. On one occasion, however, when he had shown himself 
somewhat more insistent than usual, he was thus admonished : " Make 
it your endeavour to turn the knowledge you already possess to good 
account ; the unknown things that torment you will reveal themselves 
in due season." We have another echo from Rembrandt's studio 
when Hoogstraaten praises a certain painter for "a style, which results 
from his faculty of selecting and co-ordinating the most harmonious 
elements of a given theme." Again we seem to hear Rembrandt's 
own words in Hoogstraaten's advice to his brother, who proposed to 
visit Rome: "You will find in your own country so many beauties 
that your life will be too short for their comprehension and expression. 
Italy, with all her loveliness, will be useless to you if you are unable 
to render the nature around you." Though he soon abandoned his 
master's manner, Hoogstraaten never ceased to venerate his genius. 
He extols Rembrandt's mastery of "that science of reflections, which 
was his true element." From Rembrandt he learnt to value those 
essays in chiaroscuro and studies in expression on which he afterwards 
laid such stress in his own teaching. To impress upon his pupils the 
importance of such studies, he arranged a theatre for them in the 
house he occupied at Dordrecht, formerly a brewery known as the 
Orange-tree, and would make a certain number act, while the others 
observed their action and play of feature, sometimes taking the players 
through their parts again and again, until they hit upon the simplest 
and most expressive gestures. These exercises he diversified by 
experiments with a game of Chinese shadows, by means of which 
he demonstrated the infinite variety of effects produced by changing 

J- I/t/eydhig tot de Iiooge School dcr Schilder Konst. 1678. 



SAMUEL VAN HOOGSTRAATEN 



297 



the position of the source of Hght. In such teaching and experiments 
he merely reduced to practice the precepts he had heard from 
Rembrandt ; while in his liberal treatment of his pupils he was 
again guided by the example of that generous master, who, as 
Baldinucci tells us on the excellent authority of Keilh, " was to be 
admired not less for his noble devotion to his art, than for a kindness 
of heart verging on extravagance." 




STUDY OF A BKAK. 

P;n drawing, heightened with wash (Lord Urownlow). 




THE GOLDWEIGHER S HELD. 

1651 (B. 234). 



CHAPTER XVII 



REMBRANDT'S HOME— TITUS AND HIS NURSE — HENDRICKJE STOFFELS — PICTURES 
PAINTED FROM HER — THE PORTRAIT IN THE SALON CARRE AND THE ' BATHSHEBA ' 
OF THE LACAZE COLLECTION —STUDIES FROM NATURE — THE 'GIRL WITH A BROOM,' 
AND THE PORTRAITS OF OLD MEN IN THE HERMITAGE AND THE DRESDEN 

GALLERY 'JOSEPH ACCUSED BY THE WIFE OF POTIPHAR ' ETCHINGS FROM 1654 

TO 1655 — REMBRANDT'S HOUSE AND HIS COLLECTIONS. 




T 



'O one of Rembrandt's 
aftectionate and home- 
loving temperament, the 
bitterness of his bereavement 
must have been greatly enhanced 
by the anxieties inseparable from 
the management of a house and 
the bringing up of a little child. 
Absorbed in his art, and ignorant 
of the details of every-day life, 
he was incapable of directing 
his household, and was entirely 
at the mercy of those about him. 
Titus' nurse, Geertje Dircx, the 
widow of a trumpeter named 
Abraham Claesz, soon acquired 
an ascendency in the establish- 
ment, justified in some measure 
by her devotion to her charge. At the time of Titus' birth, Saskia 
was already suffering from the illness of which she died within the 
year. It is not surprising, therefore, that the child was lar from 
robust, and needed constant watchfulness. There are traces of languor 
and ill-health in two portraits of him painted by his father about 
this period. As Claussin, and after him Messrs. Charles Blanc and 
Middleton-Wake have suggested, Titus was no doubt the m.odel 



CI.D MAN WITH A LAKGE BEARD. 

About 1631 (1j. 312). 



J 'or trail of 7'i/its ran J\yn (lOjS)' 



(m. R. UANn'S COI.I.I-CTION.) 




irifed by A Choasepot. Pa 



TITUS' NURSE 299 

for a little plate (B, 11), which, judging by its style and treatment, 
was probably executed about 1652. This date agrees with the 
age of the supposed sitter. We also recognise his delicate features, 
ingenuous expression, and luxuriant hair in a portrait belonging to 
M. R. Kann painted some three years later, when he was about 
fourteen. It is signed, and dated 1655. The master, following his 
usual custom in the treatment of members of his own household, paints 
him in a fancy costume. He wears a black velvet cap with a white 
feather, pearl earrings, a reddish brown doublet over a gathered 
chemisette, and a greenish cloak trimmed with fur. In this picturesque 
array, he looks like some northern prince, a youthful Hamlet, gentle 
and dreamy. The master has lingered lovingly over the work, 
especially the modelling of the head, bringing out the charming 
expression of the young face, which has much of Saskia's sweetness, 
and proclaims the loving, sensitive character of the model. We 
shall find that throughout his relations with his father, which were 
more than once somewhat difficult and delicate, Titus proved himself 
an affectionate and dutiful son. His weakness of constitution no doubt 
debarred him from an active life, for he seems to have had no 
settled occupation. In 1655, he had made some essays in painting, 
for the inventory of the following year records three studies by 
Rembrandt's son : "a Head of the Virgin, a Book, and Three 
Puppies from N'atitrey His vocation was probably not very pro- 
nounced, as the documents to which we owe our knowledge of 
him make no mention of further efforts. 

The unceasing care and attention necessary to Titus throughout 
his ailing childhood were cheerfully accorded by his nurse, whose 
affection for him was in proportion to the helplessness of his 
orphaned condition. Geertje Dircx became so fondly attached to 
him, that she made him her heir in a will dated January 24, 
1648, bequeathing to him all her property with the exception 
of a certain portion which legally reverted to her mother. She 
made it a condition, however, that Titus should hand over tlie sum 
of 100 florins to the daucrhter of a certain Pieter Beetz de Hoorn, 
together with her portrait. Was this portrait by Rembrandt ? We 
know not. But an ancient inscription on the charming drawing in 
the Teyler Museum identifies the model with Titus' nurse. It may 
be that Geertje's affection was not wholly disinterested, and iliat some 
hope of replacing Saskia underlay her devotion. Be this as it may, 
her fidelity was not of long duration. Less than two years after 
the execution of her will, she announced her intention of quitting 
Rembrandt's service. She proceeded to make a variety of claims 
against him, angrily proclaimed her desire* to revoke the will, and 
summoned her mastca* to answer her charges in a court of law. 
On October i, 1649, Rembrandt, supported by two witnesses, 
formally certified the terms of his agrt-ement with her before a 
notary. But when some few days after, on October 14, Geertje was 
required to sign a deed confirming her bequest, she passionately 



;oo 



REMBRANDT 



..-'^^r"'^:^) 



refused, and poured out a torrent of abuse, her main grievance 
being the insufficiency of the annuity settled upon her.^ In the 
following year, Geertje's health and reason alike broke down, and 
it became necessary to place her in an asylum at Gouda. At the 
request of her family, Rembrandt agreed to advance money for the 
journey, and the necessary fees. But when he found himself in 
difficulties in 1656, he made an attempt to recover the debt, and 
brouo-ht an action against certain of his old servant's relatives, one 
of whom, Pieter Dircx, was arrested. Dircx subsequently sued for 
damages " in respect of the insult and abuse to which he had been 
subjected throughout the affair." 

One of the two witnesses cited by Rembrandt in support of his 
statement of October i, 1649, was a young fellow-servant of Geertje's, 

named Hendrickje Stoffels. This girl, 
who was twenty-three years old at the 
time, was destined to play an important 
part in the career of her master, with 
whom she remained till her death. For- 
gotten to some extent by his contem- 
poraries, he was no longer overwhelmed 
with commissions, and in his unaccus- 
tomed leisure he had eagerly reverted 
to the purely artistic experiments in 
which he delighted. The period of his 
career we are now considering is marked 
by increasing ardour in his studies from 
Nature, a depth of sincerity in his 
renderings of her various aspects, and 
a concentrated fire and force in his in- 
terpretations of her phenomena. These 
studies were not confined to landscape 
and animals. He drew instruction from 
the most commonplace objects, such, 
for instance, as the Sea-shell of his 
wonderful etching, or the Bullock's Ca7'case of his superb study 
in the Louvre. But, as may be readily supposed, the human 
form had a hifjher interest and attraction for him. With the ex- 
ception of Cornelis van Haarlem and a few of the early Italianisers, 
we believe no Dutch artist to have approached Rembrandt in the 
number and continuity of his life-studies. His usual models, as we 
have seen, were young lads from among the poorer population of the 
quays and port of Amsterdam, who were readily induced to sit by 
the offer of trifling moneys. But female models were difficult to pro- 
cure. In Rembrandt's age and country, painters could rarely overcome 
the scruples of their modesty. Those they prevailed upon to pose for 
them were not, as a rule, remarkable for grace or beauty. Some 
among Rembrandt's female models are hideously repulsive. He 

1 Oud-Holland, iii. p. 95-98, and viii. p. 175. 




H"''H^ k ' ' ^ ■A > -\ 



|:^//iii^iii^-W\vw 



PORTRAIT OF TITUS. 
About 1632 (B. 11). 



HENDRICKJE STOFFELS 



301 






% 




cJ- 



reproduced their ugliness with the most elaborate fidelity, modifying 
none of the disfigurements arising from age, maternity, or social 
condition. Absolutely uncompromising in this respect, his one idea 
was the truthful delineation of the model. Some of these women 
are horrible to behold, as, for instance, the model for a study 
in the Heseltine collection, a masterly and over-faithful rendering 
of a degraded wretch, whose brazen leer and bestial laugh are re- 
produced with the same terrible exactitude that insists on every fold 
and wrinkle of the misshapen body. Hendrickje's presence under his 
roof gave him a model 
more worthy of his 
brush, of which, faithful 
to his life-long habit, he 
eagerly availed himself. 

In several works of 
this period we recognise 
a feminine model whose 
apparent age agrees 
with Hendrickje's. The 
first and best example 
of these is the beautiful 
portrait in \}i\& Salon Car r^ 
of the Louvre, probably 
painted about 1652. 
This fine work is well 
known to all students of 
Rembrandt, and its iden- 
tification with Hendrickje 
gives it additional inter- 
est. The young woman 
is dressed in one of those 
elegant fancy costumes 
the master loved to paint. 
She wears a bracelet, ear- 
rings, and a brooch of 
costly pearls, very richly 
mounted. The face is by 
no means strictly beauti- 
ful. The features are 
irregular, the nose too broad. But there is a charm of youth and 
freshhess in the brilliant complexion, rosy mouth, and dark eyes, 
the animation and tenderness of the expression, and the open 
forehead, with its waving masses of bright hair. The technical 
qualities of the work are of the very highest order, worthy of 
Rembrandt's powers at the supreme period of his development, and 
even he has never shown greater mastery than in the powerful 
harmony of the tawny fur and rich dress, by which the glowing 
llesh- tints arc relieved. 



\[i 



TITUS NURSE. 

en drawing, heishtened with wash (Teyler MuscunO. 



302 REMBRANDT 



Hendrlckje is again easily recognisable in another picture in the 
Louvre, the Bathsheba of the Lacaze collection, painted in 1654. The 
seated figure is life-size, and the young woman appears to have just 
come out of the bath. She holds David's missive in her hand, re- 
volving its contents in her mind. An old woman, no doubt the bearer 
of the letter, is engaged in the prosaic task of paring her nails. We 
are prepared to admit that Bathsheba's legs, and the lower part of 
her body generally, are vulgar and ill-proportioned. The bust and 
throat, on the other hand, are exquisitely modelled. The light falls 
full upon them, bringing out the purity of the contours, and the 
luminous delicacy of the flesh-tints, which, as Dr. Bode justly remarks, 
would bear comparison with the best work of Giorgione, Titian, 
and Correggio, the supreme painters of feminine nudity. Not one 
of the three, we may further venture to assert, could have given 
Bathsheba's face the expression so finely imagined by Rembrandt. 
Flattered, though as yet undecided, Uriah's wife has evidently no 
intention of repulsing her unlawful suitor. She allows her thoughts 
to wander at will, and her preoccupied air and troubled look betray 
her vacillation. We recognise Hendrickje once more in a bold and 
brilliant study, painted a year or two later, about 1 658-1 660, which 
was at the Winter Exhibition at Burlington House in 1883. She 
is represented lying on a bed, one shoulder uncovered, the left hand, 
which is foreshortened, stretched out to draw a crimson curtain.^ 

The finest of the whole series, however, is the study of Hendrickje 
in the National Gallery, the so-called Woman Bathing. It bears the 
same date as the Bathsheba (1654), and is undoubtedly a masterpiece 
among Rembrandt's less important works. The young woman, whose 
only garment is a chemise, stands almost facing the spectator, in a 
deep pool. Her attitude suggests a sensation of pleasure and refresh- 
ment, tempered by an involuntary shrinking of her body at the first 
contact of the cold water. The light from above glances on her 
breast and forehead, and on the luxuriant disorder of her bright 
hair ; the lower part of her face and her legs are in deep transparent 
shadow. The brown tones of the soil, the landscape background, 
and the water, the purple and gold of the draperies— among the 
stuffs on the bank we note the heavy golden brocade which figures in 
the Bathsheba — make up a marvellous setting alike for the brilliantly 
illuminated contours and the more subdued carnations of the model. 
The truth of the impression, the breadth of the careful, but masterly 
execution, the variety of the handling, proclaim the matured power 
of the artist, and combine to glorify the hardy grace and youthful 
radiance of his creation. 

When Rembrandt painted these various studies, he had secured 
the complaisant model for his life-long companion. Hendrickje had 
been his mistress for some time past. Careless of public opinion, 

1 This study, which is rather less than Hfe-size, was then in Mr. H. St. John Mildmay's 
collection. It was afterwards bought by Mr. Wertheimer, the well-known dealer. 
// is now in the Scottish National Gallery. See the illustration on p. 315. — F. W. 




Po)ii-ail of J/cndrickjc Slojj'cis {about 16^2). 

(l.iaVKK ) 



PICTURES PAINTED FROM HENDRICKJE 303 

he took little pains to conceal the situation, which soon created 
considerable scandal. On July 23, 1654 — the year of the BathsJicba 
and the BatJiing Woman — Hendrickje was summoned before the 
elders of her church — this interference with the private affairs of 
the faithful is very characteristic of religious sentiment in ?iolland 
at the period — severely admonished, and forbidden to receive the 
sacrament. Even had she been disposed to deny her fault, con- 
cealment was no longer possible, for in the autumn of the same 
year she gave birth to a daughter. This child was acknowledged 
by Rembrandt, and baptised on October 30 in the Oude Kerk, 
receiving his mother's name, Cornelia, already twice bestowed on 
children by Saskia who had died in infancy. The liaison, however, 
dated from some three years earlier, for Hendrickje's first child 
died at its birth, and was buried August 15, 1652, in the Zuider 
Kerk. Hendrickje was the woman spoken of by Houbraken as 
"a peasant of Ransdorp," Rembrandt's "wife." A recently dis- 
covered document states that she was a native of a village of 
this name, on the borders of Westphalia. On August 31, 1661, 
Hendrickje gave a power of attorney to her brother-in-law, an 
inhabitant of Breevoort, a commune adjoining Ransdorp, authorising 
him to receive all moneys that might become due to her in her native 
district. The young woman seems to have been quite uneducated, 
for her signature in this deed, as in all others where it appears, 
consists of a cross. There is no foundation whatever for the 
tradition of her legal marriage with Rembrandt, though such an 
union was not at all an unlikely one for a man of her master's 
temperament. Rembrandt, though fully alive to the charms of a 
well-bred society, and counting many persons of distinction among 
his friends, was not averse to the companionship of his inferiors. 
It would have been no great sacrifice to him to give his name to 
a woman who filled the place of a wife in his household, and who, 
by her fidelity to himself, and admirable conduct towards Titus, 
proved herself deserving of affection. It may be that Hendrickje 
had refrained from pressing the point, and, confident of her master's 
love, and of his dependence on her care, had frankly accepted 
her position. Such acquiescence in the situation might further 
be explained by her knowledge of those financial difficulties with 
which Rembrandt had long been struggling which were gradually 
approaching their climax. 

Several pictures of this period were probably studies from 
members of the painter's household. Two of these were painted 
at an interval of some three or four years, perhaps in 1652 and 1656 
respectively, from a little peasant girl, whom Hendrickje may 
have employed to help her in the household work. She is 
scarcely more than a child in the Girl with a Broom, in the 
Hermitage, in which she faces the spectator, dressed in the usual 
costume of a Dutch servant, a square-cut bodice with braces, over a 
white chemisette with full sleeves. Her facial type is a vulgar one, 



304 



REMBRANDT 



round and full, with a turned-up nose, thick lips, a quantity of fair 
hair, and a prominent forehead. She leans over a rough fence, and 
gazes straight before her, with widely-opened eyes. Beside her are 
a pail and basket, and in her coarse little red hands she grasps a 
broom, the emblem of her calling. This implement she clasps to her 
breast, as if to suggest its importance in her scheme of life. The 
master seems to have been moved to typify and extol the housewifely 



r" 



:^^^ ...^ ^' 







KEMBRANDTS HEAD AND OTHER "SKETCHES. 

1631 and 1650 (?) (B. 370). 



instincts of his countrywomen in this bold, vigorous, and rapidly- 
painted study. His little model reappears in a picture in the Stockholm 
Museum (No. 584 in the Catalogue). It is apparently dated 165 1, 
but the figures, especially the last of the four, are almost illegible, 
and we believe it to have been painted some two or three years 
later. The costume and attitude are almost the same as in the 
St. Petersburg example. But the child has grown, and, though 
the features are little altered, the face and the hands are longer 




Jhxthshcha {1654). 



(loivke.) 



STUDIES OF OLD PEOPLE 



305 



and more refined. Leaning in a musing attitude on a window- 
sill, she indulges in some youthful day-dream. Rembrandt, no 
doubt to give her pleasure, seems to have adorned her simple 
dress with some trinkets from his own stores. She wears a pearl 
necklace ; her red frock is bordered with gold embroidery, and her 
hair is drawn stiffly off her forehead and confined in a smart cap. 
The execution is more careful and finished in this study, but it has 
all the vigour and freshness of the earlier portrait. The strong 
shadows are relieved by warm reflections, very boldly and brilliantly 
applied. The face, though 
calm, is full of vitality. 
The skin is firm and 
supple, showing the blue 
veins here and there. 
Youth, health, and the 
glow of expanding life 
seem to breathe from 
the sturdy little body. 

Very different is the 
motive in three female 
studies in the Hermitage 
(Nos. 804, 805, and 806). 
Old age, decrepitude, and 
decline here inspire the 
master's brush. All three 
pictures were painted in 
1654, and represent the 
same person, in almost 
the same attitude, the 
difference lying in the 
costume and proportion. 
The one is a bust por- 
trait, the second a three- 
quarters, the third nearly 
a whole length. No. 805, 
which we reproduce, 
seems to us the most 
expressive. The vener- 
able model is posed in a large armchair, her bony, wrinkled hands 
crossed upon her lap. She wears a black hood, and a brown cape 
over a reddish dress with a full white fichu. In her wrinkled 
features we note the traces of former beauty, and her face is full 
of a touching sadness. The drooping attitude, the indefinable ex- 
pression of the weary eyes, suggest the lassitude born of mani- 
fold sorrows. She seems to be dreaming of all those who have 
gone before her. She has nothing to hope for in this life, and th(^ 
very poignancy of her regrets helps her to fix her thoughts on 
that which is to come. A portrait of the same old woman in 

X 




CHRIST WITH THE DISCII'LES AT EMMAUS. 

1654 (U. 37). 



3o6 REMBRANDT 

Count Moltke's collection at Copenhagen is perhaps even finer in 
quality, and is in such first-rate condition that its beauties may 
be fully appreciated. The sitter is rather older, and looks feebler 
than in the earlier studies. Her wrinkled flesh has become loose 
and flaccid ; her hands are wrapped in a sort of sling. But there 
is still a lingering fire in the eyes, and the face bears that impress 
of unswerving rectitude which gives majesty to the humblest old 
age. A fifth portrait of this old woman passed into the Epinal 
Museum, with the rest of the Salm collection. In this she is repre- 
sented with a rosary in her hand, wearing a hood of cloth of gold, 
the ends of which fall upon her shoulders, and a chemisette, opening 
over a vest of cloth of gold. The somewhat coarse and violent 
execution, and the amber tone of the colour, confirm the date 1661 
on this portrait, still a powerful and striking work, in spite of its 
deterioration. The number of these studies extant convince us that 
the model who so often sat for Rembrandt, and whose costume he 
modified according to his fancy, was a person belonging to his 
own immediate circle. We can offer no evidence as to her identity, 
but it is not improbable that she may have been Hendrickje's mother, 
or some old relative, whom the master, with his customary generosity, 
had received into his house. 

In these candid studies, Rembrandt expresses with equal eloquence 
alike the bloom and vigour of life and its ultimate quiescence. His 
sincerity was absolute in all his commerce with nature ; his first 
desire was to learn, and to add to his resources. But even when he 
seems to be copying with the most scrupulous minuteness, he informs 
his theme with his own commanding individuality. Face to face with 
the myriad aspects of nature, he recognised the limitations of his art 
in their reproduction, and sensible that he could not render all, he 
selected those which seemed to him the most impressive, those which 
agreed most fully with that " ce7'tain idea " spoken of by Raphael, which 
every true artist carries within him. His own intelligent conception of 
his art, his sympathy with his models, and the versatility of his intellect, 
give a supreme interest to those varied and deeply-expressive studies, 
the freedom and spontaneity of which allowed full scope to his originality. 
Graceful and exquisite as are many of his youthful feminine figures, 
he is perhaps most individual and moving in those portraits of old 
women, in which by the accidents of form and feature he so admirably 
suggests the moral life. It is as a painter of character that he shows 
himself supreme, bringing out the personality of his sitters in their 
gestures, their attitudes, in the peculiarities of bearing and expression 
stamped on them by temperament and habit. 

In addition to these independent studies, the Hermitage Museum, 
which is specially rich in Rembrandt's works of this period, owns a 
portrait of an old lady (No. 823 in the Catalogue), evidently painted on 
commission, to judge by the careful execution and formal costume. 
The model is seated in an arm-chair, and wears a reddish head-dress 
o\er a close white cap, which conceals all but the roots of her brown 



STUDIES OF OLD PEOPLE 307 

hair. A little square collar and a brown fur-trimmed mantle com- 
plete her costume. The iron-gray of her bodice, and the reds of her 
sleeves and' cap, make up a harmony of exquisite distinction, which 
Nicolas Maes, inspired by his master's example, has introduced 
in several of his pictures. A pair of portraits in the Stockholm 
Museum (Nos. 581 and 582), signed, and dated 1655, represent an aged 
couple, grown gray together. The picture of the wife, who wears a 
turban and a loose brown gown, trimmed with fur, is a broad and sober 
piece of work, subdued in colour, but distinguished by a gentle refine- 
ment of handling in admirable harmony with the serene personality of 
the sitter. The portrait of the husband, a gray-bearded man in a brown 
dress and black hat, is no less remarkable in treatment ; though 
unfortunately in very poor condition. Some of the studies of old men, 
almost as numerous as those of old women, compare not unfavourably 
with these. We may instance two little panels in the Cassel Museum, 
painted about 1655, one (No. 225) the bust portrait of a gray-haired 
man in profile, dressed in a brown robe ; the other, a study of a 
somewhat younger man, painted full face, a fur cap on his head ; ^ 
Sir Francis Cook's study of an old man seated, and leaning on a stick ; 
and a later sketch in Mr. Humphry Ward's possession, painted about 
1658, a man in a red cap and robe of golden brown, whose vigorous 
head, with its somewhat distrustful expression, is modelled with great 
effect in a rich impasto. Several other studies, more important both 
in dimensions and quality, remain to be noticed, among them an old 
man, with strongly-marked features, in the Hermitage Museum. 
Painted about 1 654-1 656, it may probably have been used by the 
master for xho. Jacob blessing the Children of Joseph, of the latter year. 
The Hermitage possesses yet another study of an old man in a black 
dress and cap, and brown robe, dated 1654, remarkable for the trans- 
parent quality of its subdued tones. The head of an old man in the 
Schwerin Museum (No. 855 in the Catalogue) is now restored to 
Rembrandt on Dr. Bode's authority. It was long ascribed to Ribera. 
The finest of the whole series, the Old Man in the Dresden Gallery 
(No. 1567 in the Catalogue), is signed and dated 1654. The majestic 
bearinof and dio^nified features of the model must have deliq-hted the 
master ; the study is singularly powerful and vital. The head, with 
its broad-brimmed cap, enframed in its long white hair and beard, is 
modelled in a full, fat impasto, handled with consummate knowledge 
and decision. The sitter was very probably a chance model, picked 
up in the streets of Amsterdam ; but in his rich crimson dress and 
heavy mantle he is a most commanding figure, his proud bearing, 
confident gaze, powerful frame, and deeply-furrowed skin, suggesting 
a parallel with some rugged oak, towering above its forest brethren. 
The Man in Armour in the Cassel Museum (No. 223 in the 
Catalogue), though lacking the breadth and grandeur of the Dresden 
example, has all the vigour characteristic of this period. The forged 
inscription of Rembrandt's name, and the date 1655, was probably 
^ Of this there is a replica, or perhaps a copy, in the Louvre, rather inferior in quahty. 

X 2 



3o8 



REMBRANDT 



added to supplement an illegible signature, traces of which are still 
decipherable. The work is undoubtedly by the master, and the 
execution confirms its ascription to this period. Under Mr. Mauser's 
skilful restoration, it has regained its original brilliance, and the 
manly head, with its noble and regular features, and abundant brown 
hair, is a haunting and impressive creation. 

The advantages of such studies are amply demonstrated in the 
pictures of this period. In the Tribute Money of 1655, a little panel 
with a number of figures, formerly in the Wynn Ellis collection, and 

now belonging to Mr. 
Beaumont, we note an 
increasing richness and 
animation in the colour. 
This is still more evi- 
dent in two works 
of greater importance 
painted in 1655,^ both 
representing the epi- 
sode of Joseph accused 
by tJie Wife of Poti- 
p/iar, with slight varia- 
tions in detail. That 
in the Berlin Museum is 
not only more dramatic 
in composition than its 
companion in the Her- 
mitage, but more brilli- 
ant in colour, and in 
better condition. The 
Potiphar of the Berlin 
picture seems to accept 
his wife's statements 
with a certain reserve. 
He gazes earnestly at 
Joseph, as if seeking 
confirmation or dis- 
proval of the charge in 
the face of the accused. 
The figure of Joseph is full of expression ; beside himself, he casts 
his eyes upwards, as if attesting his innocence before Heaven, while 
in the Hermitage example he listens, with downcast eyes and 
impassible face, to the denunciations of his supposed treachery. 
Expressive as are the faces and attitudes, the supreme beauty of 
the work lies in the wonderful richness and harmony of the colour. 

^ Dr. Bode believes that the Hermitage example was painted in 1654, and dated that 
year, but that Rembrandt modified it considerably the following year, and altered the 
date to 1655. Mr. Somoff, the Director of the Hermitage Museum, agrees with me, 
however, that 1655 was the original date. 




CHRIST IN THE GARDEN OF OLUT3 

About 1657 (B. 75). 




ll'oiuaii J hit In ih^ {'^^54)- 

(national gai.i.ekv.) 



"JOSEPH ACCUSED BY POTIPHAR'S WIFE" 



309 



Rembrandt himself had never equalled its magnificence. Even 
in the Szcsanna, also at Berlin, the variety and splendour of his 
palette are scarcely so fully exhibited. To avoid the gaudiness and 
incoherence of multiplied tints, he has with exquisite art confined 
the general tonality to the play of two complementary colours, 
opposing the various reds of the picture to skilfully distributed 
greens. The simplicity of the general effect is thus preserved, 
and the eye of the 
spectator feasts undis- 
turbed on the sumptuous 
harmony, in which Rem- 
brandt seems to have 
epitomised all the splen- 
dours of Eastern life. 

Now, as always, the 
master loved to vary one 
form of work by recourse 
to another. Idleness was 
impossible to him, and a 
change of occupation the 
only relaxation his cease- 
less activity demanded. 
In addition to the many 
pictures already de- 
scribed, he executed a 
considerable number of 
etchings in 1654 and 
1655. These, in general, 
are marked by the same 
breadth and simplicity 
that distinguish the paint- 
ings. Like many of the 
preceding period, some 
among them are sketched 
rapidly on the plate, 
without a preliminary 
study. But the careless 
spontaneity of such a 
method tended to pre- 
serve the fire and free- 
dom of the inspiration. Nearly all these plates deal with subjects from 
the New Testament. Rembrandt seems to have ai)i)licd himself at 
this stage in his career to a closer study of the life of Jesus, realising 
more fully than he had hitherto done the character of the Saviour, as 
he followed the Divine Figure throughout the cycle of His earthlv 
pilgrimage, and embodied its more "striking episodes. With deep 
emotion he traces His course from birth, through death, to resurrection. 
Thus, following on the A^ativity (B. 45), already described, which 




STUDY CF A YOUTH (tIT'JS?). 

Vtvi drawing (Stockholm Print Room). 



3IO REMBRANDT 



should probably be referred to this period, we have the Circumcision 
of 1654 (B. 47), the singular plate in which the ceremony is represented 
as taking place in a stable ; ^ the Presentation (B. 50), a most 
picturesque rendering of the theme, executed with great spirit and 
firmness, probably in 1654, the year of the FligJit into Egypt; the 
Holy Family crossing a Rill (B. 55), and of the Holy Family (B. 63), in 
which the Virgin is sleeping, her head resting on that of the Child in 
her lap. These were succeeded hy the Jesus disptcting with the Doctors 
in the Temple (B. 64), a subject of which there are numerous ver- 
sions among Rembrandt's drawings and etchings ; the Jesus found by 
his Parents in their Journey to Jerusalem (B. 60), to adopt Wilson's 
reading of the subject, which Bartsch erroneously describes as The 
Return from Egypt, a title obviously at variance with the apparent 
age of the Holy Child ; the Christ in the Garden of Olives (B. 75), with 
the fainting Saviour supported by an angel, the sleeping apostles behind 
Him, and, barely visible in the dim moonlight, Judas advancing with 
the guards to seize his Master — an admirable composition, of which 
Rembrandt made several studies, though we do not find that he ever 
used them for a picture ; and, finally, the Disciples at Emmdus (B. 87), 
already mentioned, and the Descent from the Cross (B, ^t^, a torch- 
light scene remarkable for the frankness of its treatment and effects. 

In 1655 Rembrandt, who had kept up his friendship with 
Menasseh ben Israel, etched four little illustrations for a work in 
Spanish by the Rabbi, entitled : La Piedra gloriosa de la estatua de 
Nabuchadnesar? By a variety of subtle arguments and shadowy 
analogies Menasseh seeks to demonstrate in this work that Nebuchad- 
nezzar's dream was a prophecy of the Messiah's advent, further 
confirmed by the vision of Daniel — that the stone which shattered the 
statue of the Assyrian monarch, the stone which served Jacob for a 
pillow, and the stone with which David slew Goliath were all types 
of the same event. Such subjects were ill-suited to the genius 
of Rembrandt, who, conscious perhaps of his inaptitude for their 
treatment, had little taste for allegories. He did his best, however, 
to satisfy his friend. The first states of the plate were in his dark 
manner, but these he worked over and lightened considerably for 
the later impressions, endeavouring to follow Menasseh's text as 
closely as possible, and bring out its full significance. In spite of his 
efforts, however, the result was sufficiently fantastic and incom- 
prehensible. The plates were apparently not to the publisher's 
taste, for shortly after Menasseh's death he caused fresh ones to 
be executed, considerably modifying the composition of Rembrandt's 
illustrations, which were not much improved in the process. They 
appeared only in the earlier copies of the book. 

We are unable to concur with Mr. Middleton-Wake in his 
classification of the sketch of St. Peter (B. 95), which he includes 
among the etchings of 1655. Judging by the execution, we agree with 

1 This plate is signed and date J twice over, Rembrandt f. 1654. 

2 This book was pubUshed at Amsterdam, and dated ."5415 (1655 of our era). 




(ill-/ -li-illi a Jh-ooni {about i(^^4). 



(llFKMI IA(;l .) 



ETCHINGS OF THIS PERIOD 311 

Mr. von Seidlitz that it belongs to a much earlier period, probably 
about 1630. Its analogies with such youthful works as the Flight into 
Egypt (B. 54), the Old Man Studying (B. 149), the Todit Blind 
(B. 153), and the Beggar standing, (B. 162) are very striking. The 
slight but attractive little plate, The Sport of Kolef or Golf (B. 125), is, 
however, a work of 1654. One of the players is in the act of striking 
the ball ; two others are talking together, while a fourth personage, 
apparently lost in thought, reclines on a bench in the foreground. 
The Abrahani s Sacrifice (B. 35) of the following year is equally firm 
in execution, while the large Ecce Homo (B. 76) of the same date, 
though not less summary in treatment, is even more masterly. The 
figures, with the exception perhaps of some which are introduced 
merely as a relief to the shadows of the architectural background, are 
etched with a firm, nervous stroke, and arc full ot vitality and 
expression. The subdued energy of the treatment brings out, in a 
very pathetic fashion, the diversity of sentiments animating the crowd 
that clamours round the innocent victim. In the sixth state of this 
plate, however, the master, apparently dissatisfied with his composition, 
modified it very considerably. Anxious, no doubt, to concentrate 
attention more fully on the principal actor, he erased the figures of the 
foreground, substituting for them an arcade in the projecting base of 
the portico on which Jesus stands between Pilate and his attendants, 
exposed to the insults of the mob below. 

After this long enumeration of works executed in 1654 and 1655, 
it is hardly necessary to point out that these years were among the 
busiest and most fruitful of the master's career. Rembrandt was 
happy ; his house was once more a home. An amenable com- 
panion was always by his side. She directed his household, brought 
up his children, and upon occasion sat for his pictures. His sedentary 
habits took firmer hold upon him than ever, and he rarely went 
beyond the home he had arranged to suit his own tastes, and in 
which, as we have said more than once, he had accumulated an infinite 
variety of objects he considered helpful in his art. The moment seems 
a favourable one for us to enter the dwelling ; and the inventory of July 
25 and 26, 1656, which furnishes us with an exact list of its contents, 
throws considerable light on the master's life and habits. The house 
in the Breestraat where Rembrandt had lived since i\Iay, 1639, 
was pleasantly situated, within an easy distance both of the harbour 
and the outlying country, in the heart of the Jewish quarter. It 
is still in existence, and, save for a slight alteration necessitated 
by its division into two separate houses, the exterior remains 
unchanged. It is a building of the Dutch -Italian Renaissance, faced 
with alternate courses of brick and freestone, and ornamented with 
small sculptured hends. The fa9ade is crowned with a pediment, on the 
tympanum of which is carved a wreath and scrolls. The ground floor 
is raised above the street by the height of some five or six steps. 
Above it are a first and second story surmounted by attics. It 
was therefore a fairly spacious dwelling. At the entrance was a 



REMBRANDT 



vestibule leading into an ante-room, on either side of which was a 
large room. Rembrandt probably slept in one of these, and worked 
there in the evenings, preparing his plates, or printing his etchings, 
for among the articles of furniture noted in the inventory are tables, 
presses of oak and foreign woods, a copper boiler, and screens. 
Another ante-room on the first floor gave access to the saloon, or 
Museum (Kunstcaemer), in which the most valuable articles of the 
collections were exhibited. The studios were probably on the second 
floor, where the light was best, and were doubtless so arranged as 
to get the full benefit of the sun, and facilitate those experiments in 

illumination affected by 
the master. One of 
these studios, that used 
by Rembrandt himself, 
communicated with a 
small lumber-room, where 
he kept his furs ; the 
other, of the same di- 
mensions, was reserved 
for his pupils, and divided 
into five compartments. 
In all probability, one of 
these compartments, the 
largest of the five, was 
also occupied by Rem- 
brandt himself ; it con- 
tained, in addition to the 
trophies of foreign curi- 
osities, weapons, and 
musical instruments with 
which all five were de- 
corated, plaster casts of 
statues, models of arms 
and legs, and a quantity 
of antique fabrics, of 
various colours and tex- 
tures. Lastly, we come 
to a small office, and a 
little kitchen, furnished wiih a scanty supply of pots and crockery. 
Plain livinsf was the rule in Rembrandt's household, and all his 
biographers are agreed as to the frugality of his habits. Of table 
and body linen, the pride of the Dutch housewife, he seems to 
have possessed but a very meagre store. The entries under this 
head in the inventory are of the briefest. Nor was the library 
more abundantly furnished. It consisted of some twenty volumes, 
among them some specimens of calligraphy, probably the gift of 
Coppenol, Jan Six's Medea, two German books, one of military 
subjects, the other Josephus' History of the Jews, with illustrations 




THE YOUNG SERVANT. 

About 1654 (Stockholm Museur.'.V 




roiirail of an Old W'oimui {16^,4). 

(IIEKMITACK.) 



REMBRANDT'S COLLECTIONS 



313 



-ft tt^^H»^■w&^^¥uiJS!«n^n!^t.-) 



by Tobias Stimmer/ and the master's "old Bible," the book of 
which he never wearied. 

The various rooms were sparingly furnished with old Spanish 
chairs, upholstered in leather or velvet, mirrors in ebony frames, 
tables with rich covers ; we read also of an old chest, the little 
carved bed of gilded wood already mentioned, a marble cooler, etc. 
Ranged along the walls were cabinets containing Indian boxes, of 
sandalwood or bamboo, vases, cups, china, fanciful costumes, stuffed 
animals,^ minerals, shells, fish, sea-weed, and jewels of rare workman- 
ship or fine quality. A quantity of armour, of various periods and 
countries, further attested the catholic tastes of the master, in whose 
household artistic treasures took the place of domestic luxuries. In 
such matters Rembrandt seems to have been entirely free from 
prepossessions. He gleaned indifferently among various styles and 
epochs, requiring only 
artistic merit of some sort 
in his acquisitions. Among 
his sculptures we find both 
oriofinal works, and casts 
from the antique, a Lao- 
coon, a Socrates, a Homer, 
an Aristotle, some sixteen 
busts of Roman emperors, 
naked children, models of 
heads, and of a negro from 
life, a mask of Prince 
Maurice taken after his 
death, an iron shield with 
figures by " Ouentin the 
Smith," Diana s Bath, and 
a basin with nude figures 

in plaster by the sculptor Adam van Vianefi. His taste in pictures 
was no less eclectic. Among his examples of the Italian masters, then 
so greatly admired in Amsterdam, were two of which he was joint pur- 
chaser with the dealer Pieter de- la Tombe : The Parable of the Rich 
Man by Palma Vecchio, and The Samaritan Woman by '' ZJoi-zJone" 
(Giorgione) ; a study of a head by Raphael, a Camp by Bassano, 
and two copies after Carraccio. The Flemish and Dutch schools 
were more fully represented. First on the list are four examples 
of the "primitives": a head by Jan van Eyck, and three pictures 
b\' the rare master, Aertgen van Leyden : The Resurrection of a 
dead Man, St. Peter s Boat, and Joseph. Next come seven pictures 
by Brauwer, and a portfolio of his drawings ; a picture by Frans 




THE SPORT OF GOLF. 
1654 (B. 125). 



^ Not by Tobias Tinimermnn, as Scheltema and Vosniacr have stated. The book was 
a folio volume, pi;l)Iished at Frankfort in 15S0 by S. Feyerabendt : Opera Joscplii viri : 
de Ajitiquitatil'HS Judnicis libri XX. 

- In a drawer containing a number of fans was found the skin of a bird of Paradise 
from wliich Rembrandt made two i>en-drawings, now in iM. JJonnat's colieetion. 



314 REMBRANDT 

Hals, and two small studies of heads by Lucas van Valckenburg. 
We have already mentioned the works of contemporary landscape- 
painters, for which Rembrandt had a special predilection ; to these 
we must add examples of his master Lastman, of Jan Pynas, another 
Italianiscr, and of his friend Lievens, who was represented by a 
Resurrection of Lazarus, a Hcrniit, an Abraham s Sacrifice, a 
Nativity, all favourite subjects with Rembrandt, and, further, by 
two landscapes, one a Moonlight Scene. 

But the engravings were the most important items of Rembrandt's 
rich and varied collection. These had a twofold interest for him. 
They o-ave him much valuable information as to the methods of his 
predecessors in an art of which he was himself a past master, and 
by their means he became familiar with the great painters of foreign 
schools, Michelangelo, Raphael — he frequently gave large prices for 
fine impressions of Marc Antonio's plates — Titian, of whose works 
he owned a complete set of prints, Holbein, Cranach, Ribera, the 
Bolognese masters, Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens, P. Brueghel, &c. 
The masters he most highly valued were the original artists, 
who engraved their own subjects, Mantegna, Schongauer, Albrecht 
Diirer, Callot, and his compatriots Lucas van Leyden, Heemskerk, 
A. Bloemaert, and Goltzius. He was never weary of studying 
their works, making drawings of those he most admired, such as 
Mantegna's w^ell-known Calumny of Apelks, which he reproduced 
in a delicate pen-drawing ; a bust of Andrea Doria, " Duke of 
Genoa," which he framed in a medallion ; and the prints after 
Raphael's Madonna della Sedia and Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione. 
But of all the creations of the Italian Renaissance, that which seems 
to have most deeply impressed him was Leonardo's masterpiece, 
the Last Supper. Of this he made two copies ; one is a pen-draw- 
ino- dated 1635, in the Berlin Print Room ; the other, a study in 
red chalk, belonging to Prince George of Saxony. The latter is 
especially interesting. Rembrandt first sketched in the subject care- 
fully and lightly, working it over afterwards with bold, firm 
strokes of the pencil. His intention is very obvious. By means 
of these vigorously loaded touches, he admirably suggests the 
ingenious methods by which Leonardo brought the various figures 
of his composition into unity, and subordinated them to the principal 
personage, the Christ in the centre, revealing the geometrical basis 
of the arrangement, and the scientific spirit underlying the con- 
ceptions of his profoundly philosophical . intellect. Such methods 
as these Rembrandt eagerly studied and assimilated. 

In his quest for instruction Rembrandt also sought to familiarise 
himself with contemporary knowledge of the antique. He collected 
medals, sculptures and casts, and filled his portfolios with drawings 
and engravings from statues and classic monuments. He was no 
less eager for information touching foreign lands, and just as he 
studied history, not in books, but in the works of his predecessors, 
so we find him journeying into far countries with his confreres. 






^' 




I Malt /\cadnij^ 

I'cn and Sepia. 



I 



3i6 REMBRANDT 

We know that he affected the works of the Italianisers ; he also 
collected views of Italy by various masters, and views of the 
Tyrol by Roelandt Savery. He studied Oriental buildings and 
costumes in the Scenes from Turkish Life of Pieter Coucke of 
Alost, and the Tttrkish Buildings of Melchior Lorch and Hendrick 
van Aelst. Or his fancy, dreaming of new horizons and undis- 
covered territories, took a wider flight, to countries as yet unvisited 
by the European artist. His imagination was fired by tales of 
the Indies, and the mysterious coasts visited by hardy Dutch 
mariners. Among the innumerable curiosities from those distant 
shores in his possession were Persian and Hindoo miniatures. 
Fascinated by the singularity, the mingled barbarity and refine- 
ment of Oriental art, he made careful studies from many of his 
specimens. The Louvre, the British Museum, and Messrs. Bonnat, 
Heseltine, and Salting possess copies by him from the miniatures : 
a rajah in a helmet, seated on a throne, surrounded by his court ; 
a young prince on horseback, falcon on wrist, &c. These reve- 
lations of an exotic art were absolutely novel in Rembrandt's 
days, and appealed strongly to his imagination. We may imagine 
how great his delight would have been could he have seen any 
of those Japanese drawings of which he sometimes shows, as it 
were, a curious prescience in his own works. His landscape 
sketches, indeed, and many of his etchings, are marked by the same 
exquisite sense of form, the same ingenious distribution of masses, 
the same intelligent and unforeseen interpretation of nature, which 
have fascinated the artists of our own day. Here again Rembrandt 
figures as a pioneer. 

We must not omit such works of his own or of his pupils as 
were found among his effects. These were chiefly studies from 
nature, landscapes, or Vanitas which he re-touched, animals, heads, 
life-studies of men and women, two studies of negroes, a Soldier 
in a Cuirass (perhaps the one in the Cassel Gallery), together with 
a few pictures and sketches, such as the Pacification of Holland, 
an Ecce Homo in grisaille (in Lady Eastlake's possession), another 
grisaille now lost, The Dedication of Solomons Temple, a Virgin, 
a Head of Christ, a Lion-fight, a Courtesan adorning herself. Of 
several others a Flagellation, a Resiirrection, a Descent from the 
Cross, there were two and even three versions, perhaps replicas, 
perhaps copies, or compositions by pupils, touched up by the 
master. Such was a Good Samaritan among the number. A few, 
of various sizes, were unnamed. Finally, there was the Diana 
or Dandc, hidden in the lumber-room, identical, no doubt, with the 
nude Saskia of the Hermitage collection. 

Among the engravings — apart from all those spoken of already — 
the inventory notes several portfolios, with complete sets of Rem- 
brandt's own etchings ; a number of plates by his friend Lievens 
and his pupil Ferdinand Bol ; a cupboard containing reproductions 
of the master's pictures by J. van Vliet. His own drawings fill 



/ Man in Armour {i(^55)- 

(C.I.ASC.OW ...KIUKATTON C. AI.I.KKV.) 



REMBRANDT'S COLLECTIONS 



317 



no less than twenty albums and portfolios. They were all care- 
fully classified by him, and arranged in categorical order — life- 
studies, studies of animals, landscapes, studies from antiques, rough 
sketches of compositions and more elaborate sketches. It is curious 
to find one so careless of his own interests and neglectful of 
ordinary business details, so laboriously methodical and exact in 
all matters that concerned his art. 

Such was Rembrandt's home : — a museum of rare and precious 
things collected by the master in no spirit of ostentation, but 
for the delight and profit of his artistic faculties. We can hardly 
wonder that he felt little inclination to wander from the place 
where his tastes and his affections alike centred. But the day was 
not far distant when he was to be driven forth from this haven, and 
despoiled of nearly all that made up the happiness of his life. 



O '■ 








TOBIT AND HIS WIFi. 



^Wf 



t--^ >^ 



4 . 





,.-.«^'^^'^ft 




THE CANAL. 

About 1652 (B. 221). 



CHAPTER XVIII 



REMP.RANDT'S extravagance and want op forethought — THE ' MATHE- 
MATICIAN ' IN THE CASSEL GALLERY — ' DR. DEYMAN'S LESSON IN ANATOMY' — 
'JACOB BLESSING THE CHILDREN OF JOSEPH ' — THE GRISAILLE OF 'THE 
PREACHING OF ST. JOHN' — ETCHED PORTRAITS: ' J. LUTMA ' AND ' OLD HAARING ' 
— REMBRANDT A BANKRUPT -THE SALE OF HIS HOUSE AND COLLECTIONS. 




A 



NATURAL feeling of sympathy and 
admiration for great artists often leads 
us to lay the blame of what we take 
to be their undeserved niisfortunes on their 
contemporaries. Rembrandt, so long the victim 
of calumnies detailed by inventive biographers, 
now, perhaps, usurps more than his legitimate 
share of the retrospective pity due to genius in 
distress. Many other artists, including some of 
the greatest among his own compatriots, died 
neglected, or tended by charity in a hospital. 
The names of Frans Hals, of Jacob van Ruys- 
dael, of Van Goyen, of Acrt van der Neer, of 
Hobbema, of Jan Steen, of Pieter de Hooch, 
of Vermeer of Delft, all figure in this martyrology of the Dutch school, 
some as the innocent victims of destiny, others as the architects of 
their own misfortunes. 

Rembrandt, we are bound to admit, belongs to the latter category. 
The accumulated embarrassments which finally resulted in ruin 
were due to himself alone. He had inherited a small patrimony, 
which, with Saskia's dowry and the various legacies that fell to him, 
should have secured him a comfortable income. Almost at the 
outset of his career he became the fashionable portrait-painter of 
the day, and earned considerable sums of money. The prices he 
commanded, though not extravagant, were among the highest obtained 



BUST OF A WOMAN. 

About 1631 (B. 358). 



REMBRANDT'S EXTRAVAGANCE 319 

by any artist of his time. For portraits, and pictures of medium size, 
his usual charge was five hundred florins ; for the Ni^lit- Watch he 
received sixteen hundred florins ; for the pictures painted for Prince 
Frederick Henry, six hundred florins each for the first five, 
and twelve hundred each for the two delivered in 1646. He 
had further the fees derived from his numerous pupils, and con- 
temporary evidence shows that his etchings were in great request, 
and sold for fair prices. All these circumstances tended to make 
Rembrandt's position a very enviable one as compared with that of 
other artists of his day. With some small share of that method and 
foresight which Rubens displayed throughout his career, he might, 
without emulating the magnificence of his Flemish confrere, or 
leaving a large fortune behind him, have kept a roof over his head, 
and honourably maintained his position in the first rank of Dutch 
artists. But, in addition to the general embarrassments in which his 
affairs became involved between 1652 and 1655, there were many 
purely personal causes of Rembrandt's disaster.^ He had never 
learnt to economise. Generous and impulsive, he was incapable of 
protecting his own interests. No sooner did he lay hands on a sum 
of money than he lavished it on friends or relations, or on some 
caprice of the moment. As early as 163 1 he lent a thousand 
florins to Hendrick van Uylenborch, and some years later he, in 
conjunction with two or three brother-artists, made a further advance 
of a considerable sum, for which Hendrick gave a security in 1640. 
We know that he behaved with no less liberality to the members 
of his own family. He had treated them with great generosity in the 
matter of the division of his parents' property, and we have no doubt 
that he often befriended his brothers and sisters, notably Adriaen, 
whose management of the mill was not very profitable, and Lysbeth, 
who is inscribed on the Leyden register of ratepayers as " almost 
bankrupt, and in very reduced circumstances." The "kindness of 
heart, verging on extravagance," which Baldinucci ascribes to him, 
must have often moved him to help distressed friends or brother 
artists. Though extremely frugal in his living and personal habits, 
he paid the most extravagant prices for works of art and decorative 
objects. Nothing was too costly for Saskia's adornment, and on the 
occasion of an inquiry, held about 1658-59 at the instance of his 
son's trustee, the goldsmith Jan van Loo and his wife, who had lontT 
been on terms of friendship with the master, deposed on oath before 
a notary that the following were among his possessions during his 
wife's lifetime : two large pear-shaped pearls, two rows of fine pearls, 
the largest forming a necklace, the others bracelets ; a large diamond 
mounted in a ring, and two diamonds set as earrings ; a pair of 

^ Some of the details bearing on Rembrandt's financial position are given in Vosmaer's 
book and Scheltema's pamphlet ; but these have been largely supplemented by the 
discoveries of Messrs. lircdius and De Roever, jiublished in Oud-JfoHaiuL On these 
researches we base the chronological statement which summarises the essential Hxcts of 
their discoveries. 



320 



REMBRANDT 



enamelled bracelets, the cover of a missal, a variety of articles in 
wrought iron and copper ; two large pieces of ornamental plate ; 
a silver dish, coffee-pot, and spoons, &c. On the same occasion 
Philips de Koninck deposed to having bought from his master seven 
years previously a rich necklace of fine pearls. 

Such details give some idea of the nature of Rembrandt's collections. 
Two art-dealers, Lodewyck van Ludik and Adriaen de Wees, who 

were also examined, 
valued the various ob- 
jects collected between 
1640 and 1650, exclusive 
of pictures, at 11,000 
florins approximately. 
For the pictures Rem- 
brandt no doubt paid 
sums far in excess of 
their value, a result of 
the habit, already referred 
to, of out-bidding com- 
petitors at auctions by 
extravagant advances, on 
the pretext of raising his 
art in the public estima- 
tion His passion for 
such acquisitions seems 
to have been entirely 
beyond his control. If 
he had no funds for pur- 
chases, he borrowed. 
When he got possession 
of a sum of money, he 
spent it, not in satisfying 
the claims of his creditors, 
but in fresh purchases ; 
or, contenting himself 
with trifling payments 
on account, he plunged 
deeper into debt, heed- 
less of a future day of 
reckoning. Under con- 
ditions such as these, he 
fell an easy prey to un- 
scrupulous money-lenders, and thus with his own hands he dug the 
pit, in which he was presently to be engullcd. 

The purchase of his house had also proved a most disastrous 
transaction for the artist. When he bought it in 1639, he had 
very little of the purchase-money in hand. But a short time after- 
wards he managed to pay half of the 13,000 florins agreed upon, and 




PEN SKETCH. 

(Boj-mans Museum, Rotterdam.) 



FINANCIAL EMBARRASSMENTS 



321 



engaged to discharge the rest of the debt at stated intervals. Not 
only, however, did he fail to fulfil the contract, but from 1649 
onwards he paid no interest whatever on the debt, and even evaded 
the payment of the rates, which therefore devolved on the former 
owner, one Christoffel Thysz. Thysz, who had long treated Rem- 
brandt with forbearance, became impatient at last, and on February i, 
1653, he formally demanded payment of the sum due to him, 
amounting, with princi- 
pal, interest, and moneys ■ ~. 

advanced, to 8,470 florins. 
Rembrandt, who was not 
in a position to satisfy 
his claims, replied by a 
refusal to settle the ac- 
count until the title-deeds 
of the property had been 
handed over to him. This 
was evidently a mere 
subterfucre, desio-ned to 
conceal the actual state 
of his exchequer. Thysz, 
patient as he was, con- 
sidered that thirteen 
years was as long as he 
could reasonably be ex- 
pected to wait for his 
money. He therefore 
suggested that Rem- 
brandt should either dis- 
charge the debt or give 
up the house. This last 
alternative was not at all 
to the painter's taste, 
and he seems now to 
have made some effort 
to appease his creditor, 
for on March 28 follow- 
ing he gave a power of 
attorney, duly attested by 
his two pupils, Heyman Dullaert and Johan Hindrichsen, to one 
Frans de Coster, empowering him to collect aM moneys due to him. 
The total, however, seems to have been insufficient, or perhaps 
Rembrandt applied it to some other purpose. 

However this may be, it appears that in September, 1653, 
anxious to discharge his debt to Thysz, he borrowed 8,400 florins 
from the councillor C. Witsen, and the merchant Isaac van Hcrts- 
beek. The lenders formally protected their claims, by making a 
declaration of the loan before the court of Echcviu';, Witsen certifying 

Y 




ULATE DECLARKS THK INNOCENXE OF JESUS. 

(Stockholm Print Room.) 



322 REMBRANDT 

his share as 4,180 florins, on January 29, 1653, ^^n Hertsbeek his 
as 4,200 florins, on March 14 following. But Rembrandt, with his 
usual nonchalance in such matters, retained a portion of the sum thus 
raised. He was probably short of money for other purposes, and an 
ao-reement was made with Thysz, by which the latter received part 
payment of his debt, with a n^iortgage on the house to the value of 
1,170 in discharge of the balance. Witsen and Van Hertsbeek 
considered themselves to have established a primary claim on 
Rembrandt's estate by the steps they had taken for their security ; 
but their position in the matter proved to be less clearly defined than 
they had supposed. 

Saskia, as we know, had left all her property in her husband's 
hands, and, confident of his rectitude, had even specially enjoined 
that the usual formalities should be dispensed with, and that no 
statement or inventory of the common property, defining Titus' share, 
should be required from Rembrandt. But as in time Rembrandt's 
embarrassments became notoriously hopeless, and his ruin imminent, 
Saskia's relatives, who had refrained from interference at first in 
deference to her wishes, felt it necessary to take action on behalf of 
Titus, of whose interests they were the legal guardians. In 1647, 
accordingly, they demanded that some statement should at least be 
made as to the value of Rembrandt's property in 1642, the date of 
Saskia's death. This Rembrandt fixed approximately at 40,750 florins. 
A sum of 20,375 florins was therefore claimed for Titus, and Rem- 
brandt, in satisfaction of this claim, appeared before the Chamber 
of Orphans on May 17, 1656, and made over his interest in the house 
in the Breestraat to his son. 

Rembrandt's creditors were naturally much incensed by this 
act of somewhat dubious morality, which neutralised all the pre- 
cautions they had taken to secure their property. They denounced 
the transfer as a fraudulent infringement of their rights. We shall 
find later that the affair resulted in a series of complicated law- 
suits, which were only concluded after innumerable pleadings and 
counter-pleadings before different tribunals. 

Meanwhile, in 1654, a curious incident took place, which shows 
that Rembrandt's position was by this time well known, and that 
enterprising speculators were beginning to mark him out for 
exploitation. One Dirck van Cattenburch, a shrewd man of 
business, himself a collector of works of art, proposed to Rembrandt 
that he should give up the house he was unable to pay for, and buy 
another. The plan he submitted to Rembrandt, though somewhat 
unusual, was of a nature to please the artist, for it involved no outlay 
on his part ; on the contrary, the vendor of the property was to 
make him an advance. The nominal price was to be 4,000 florins. 
Rembrandt was to receive from Cattenburch 1,000 florins, on the 
understanding that he was subsequently to pay over 3,000 florins 
in kind, — that is to say, in pictures and etchings of equivalent 
value ; he was further to etch a portrait of Cattenburch's brother 



PERIOD OF ACTIVE PRODUCTION 323 

Otto, secretary to the Count of Brederode at Vianen, and this 
portrait it was stipulated " should be as carefully finished as that 
of Jan Six." The project was acted upon to a certain extent. 
Rembrandt received the 1,000 florins, and duly delivered a certain 
number of pictures and etchings, among them six little pictures by 
Brauwer and Percellis. The works were valued by the dealers 
Lodewyk van Ludik and Abraham Fransz at a sum which, 
together with the estimated price of the proposed portrait, 400 
florins, amounted to 3,861 florins. But the transaction does not 
appear to have been concluded, for no portrait of Otto van 
Cattenburch figures in Rembrandt's ositvre. It was settled, no 
doubt, in an amicable fashion, for there is no entry of any sum paid 
or received in this connection in the statement of Rembrandt's 
liabilities. 

Having taken such precautions as he could to safeguard Titus' 
mterests, Rembrandt made some efforts, if not to satisfy his 
creditors, at least to temporarily appease them by payment of 
occasional sums out of the profits arising from his pictures. The 
numerous and important works produced by him in the year 1656, 
one of the most prolific of his career, attest his industry. Now, 
as always, his art was his solace amidst the troubles and anxieties 
that beset him. Among the portraits of this period, w^c shall first 
call attention to one in the Hermitage of a young woman, seated, 
and leaning on a table covered with a red cloth. Some apples, and 
a prayer-book lie beside her. Her face is turned nearly full to 
the front. She holds a pink in her right hand, and wears an 
under-dress with red sleeves, and over it a black gown, and a 
large white collar, fastened with a gold clasp. She has regular 
features, and fresh, red lips. Her calm, confident expression and clear 
complexion denote health and vigour. The simplicity of the dress, 
and a certain coarseness in the large hands, make it not unlikely 
that the sitter was some friend of Hendrickje's. The master has 
bestowed great pains on the execution, and evidently took pleasure 
in the rendering of his worthy model, placing her figure in a strong, 
glowing light, which emphasises her characteristic air of well-directed 
energy. 

In the Copenhagen Museum there are two portraits of this period, 
forming a pair. The sitters are evidently husband and wife. Both 
are painted full face, and are very richly dressed. The female portrait is 
dated 1656. The husband, a young man with long fair hair, wears a 
large brown cap with strings of pearls for ornament, and a black doublet, 
striped with gold, fastened with a clasp across his red vest. The 
painting is somewhat tame, and the expression lacks character, but 
these defects may be due in some measure to the poor condition of the 
picture. The wife's portrait has more distinction. She rests one hand 
on the back of a red chair, and, like the young woman of the 
Hermitage, holds in the other a pink. ()\cr her full yellow skirt she 
wears a black velvet jacket bordered with \uv ; an elaborate head-dress, 

Y 2 



324 



REMBRANDT 



earrings of gold and silver, and a star-shaped brooch fastening her 
collar to her chemisette, complete the costume. The small, timid 
eyes, the high forehead, the straight nose and ingenuous expression, 
make up a very characteristic individuality, and Rembrandt, who was 
ready to modify his manner at need, has been careful to avoid strong 
contrasts and deep shadows, as inconsistent with the delicate charm of 
his model. 

The Portrait of a MatiicDiatician in the Cassel Gallery, a collec- 
tion unusually rich 
in Rembrandt's 
works, has lately 
been restored by 
Mr. Hauser with 
complete success. 
Its recovered 
freshness and bril- 
liance come as a 
revelation upon 
those who, like 
myself, were 
familiar with it 
some years ago. 
The master's sig- 
nature has unfor- 
tunately disap- 
peared in the 
process, but the 
work now suffi- 
ciently proclaims 
its own authen- 
ticity. The date, 
1656, is intact, 
and is fully borne 
out by the execu- 
tion. 

In no instance, 
we think, has the 
master achieved 
a more sincere 
and forcible ex- 
pression of intellectual life. The old man sits at a table strewn 
with papers, his pen in one hand, a square in the other. He wears 
a reddish gown bordered with tawny fur. His beard, and the soft 
hair that crowns the refined, intelligent head, are quite white. The 
simple attitude, the calm reflective mien, the wrinkled nervous hand, 
even the half-consumed taper on the table, all suggest the student, 
whose life has been dedicated to research and lofty speculation. As it 
himself amazed at an unexpected revelation, he ceases writing, and sits 




UK. ARNOLD THOI.IN'X. 

1656 (M. Edouard Andre), 




The Mallu'})iatuiaii [ahoitl i()f,6). 

(CASSEL MUSEUM.) 



PORTRAITS OF THIS PERIOD 



.)^D 



absorbed in meditation. His deep-set eyes are in shadow, and seem 
to be following his thoughts through infinite space ; the light falls full 
on his upturned forehead, the broad expanse of which seems to quiver 
under the passing breath of a vast idea. The restrained force of the 
handling and the extraordinary delicacy of the chiaroscuro combine 




DR. ARNOLD THOLINX. 

About 1655 (li. 2S4J. 



most eloquently to express the sudden ilhiiniiiation of a human mind 
by a great truth, and the silent ecstasy of its endeavours to fix and 
formulate the revelation.^ 

^ This fine and deeply interesting picture Dr. Bode is inclined to attribute to Nicolacs 
Maes. If really by him, it is one of his greatest works. 



326 



REMBRANDT 



We pass on to a very different conception in the robust type of 
masculine vigour so admirably depicted in the famous portrait of Dr. 
Arnold ThoHnx, formerly in the Van Brienen collection, and now one 
of M. fidouard Andre's many artistic treasures. The courtesy of its 
present owners enables us to reproduce this masterpiece, in which 
Rembrandt's powers are seen at their greatest. Tholinx is represented 
nearly full-face, wearing a broad-brimmed black hat, and a very simple 
black costume. The strong contours of his manly head, his fresh 
complexion and energetic features are defined by deep, but very 
transparent shadows. The brilliant carnations stand out in frank relief 
ao-ainst the white collar and gray background ; the mobile lips are 
parted as if to speak. In spite of the mature age indicated by the 
grizzled beard and moustache, the blood flows warmly under the 
supple skin ; the eyes have the keen, penetrating gaze of the skilled 
physician. The broad execution is full of fire ; the grand manner of 
the Syndics is foreshadowed in its vigour and decision. The master 
was already familiar with his model. The fine etched portrait, 
in which the doctor is seated at a table, an open book before him, 
a retort and phials at his side, was probably executed the year 
before. Rembrandt had always affected the society of doctors. He 
had not long before produced the portraits of Ephraim Bonus and 
Van der Linden ; and Tulp, as we know, had materially contributed 
to his early successes by the commission for the Anatomy Lesson. 
Rembrandt was able to talk of this former patron with Tholinx, 
who, as inspector of the medical college, had revised Tulp's 
Pharmaceutical Formulary. 

It was probably through Tholinx's introduction that Rembrandt 
became acquainted with his successor, Johannes Deyman, who, in 
his turn, commissioned Rembrandt to paint, for the Surgeons' Hall, 
a picture which was very much damaged and partially destroyed 
by a fire in 1723. Setting this disaster aside, however, the work must 
have greatly deteriorated in the present century, for Reynolds, who 
saw it in 1781, after describing the corpse as "so much foreshortened 
that the hands and feet almost touch each other," remarks that " there is 
something sublime in the character of the head, which reminds one 
of Michael Angelo. The whole is finely painted, the colouring 
much like Titian." For these doubtful analogies Reynolds might 
more justly have substituted a comparison of the foreshortened 
corpse with Mantegna's Dead Christ} from a print or drawing of 
which Rembrandt undoubtedly borrowed. Of the execution it is im- 
possible to form an opinion in the present condition of the picture. 
Some idea of its primitive richness may be gathered trom 
the treatment of the linen drapery, and the faces of the operator 
and the corpse. The composition seems to have been painted on 
a canvas already used for some other subject. Traces of the original 
work are visible here and there, notably a Cupid's head, which, by 
a grim irony of chance, peers through the shadows beside the gaping 

1 In the Brera at Milan. 



"DR. DEYMAN'S ANATOMY LESSON" 327 

abdomen, the open skull and decomposing flesh of the corpse, detail 
which Rembrandt, more happily inspired, spared us in his earlier 
Anatomy Lesson. Further details no less repulsive are indicated in 
a sketch for the picture by Rembrandt in the Six collection, and in a 
drawing of the composition in its entirety made by Dilhoff in 1760. 
Dilhoffs drawing, which belonged to Vosmaer, shows Deyman, his 
hat on his head, demonstrating to nine students. His assistant, Dr. 
Gysbert Kalkoen, holds in his hand the brain-pan of the subject, no 
doubt a criminal, delivered to the operators after his execution. In 
spite of the ruined state of the picture, we cannot but commend the 
public spirit of certain amateurs, who, in conjunction with the city of 
Amsterdam, purchased the fragment now in the Ryksmuseum from an 
English owner, and restored it to their native land, the authenticity of 
the work having been previously attested by Messrs. Bode and Richter.^ 
Another important picture in the Cassel Gallery, the Jacob 
blessing the Sons of Joseph, which is no less indebted to Mr. Hauser 
than the Mathematician, claims mention as one of Rembrandt's 
most accomplished works. Conscious of his approaching end, the 
patriarch has summoned to his bedside the children of his best- 
loved son, and blesses them, laying his right hand on the head of 
Ephraim, the younger of the two. Joseph, displeased at the error, 
" holds up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head 
unto Manasseh's head." His wife looks on in silence. Such, in 
its simplicity, is the composition, of which Rembrandt had made 
several preliminary studies. The conception is one of the utmost 
nobility and pathos. The five figures, closely united as they are by 
a common interest, have each a marked individuality. The old man ^ 
seems to be struggling with the weakness of approaching death 
to carry out this last duty. Every detail tends to move our admira- 
tion afresh — the dim gaze of the patriarch, and the uncertain gesture 
of his failing hands, as he seeks the head of the child ; the fine 
countenance of Joseph, in which a sense of justice contends with 
filial reverence ; the secret satisfaction of the mother at the exaltation 
of her favourite child ; the innocent simplicity in the fair, rosy face 
of Ephraim ; the touch of resentment in the bold, alert expression of 
his dark-haired elder brother ; the delicate gradations of vitality ; above 
all, the harmonious unity of the action. The simplicity of costume, 
attitude, and arrangement harmonises with the noble conception of 
patriarchal life. Here Rembrandt relies solely on the expression 
of human sentiment to give grandeur to the sacred theme, renouncino- 
all the factitious dignity of picturesque accessories, fantastic archi- 
tecture, and gorgeous costume, with which he not unfrequentlv 
marred the soleninity of his Scriptural sc(;ncs. A further novelty 
in the master's manner is the softness of the harmony in the Cassel 

1 The purchase, wliich was made in 1883 for 1,400 florins, was due to the initiative 
of Dr. J. Six. 

2 We have ah'cady remarked that the same model figures in a picture in the Hermita<je 
(No. 818 in the Catalogue). 



.,8 REMBRANDT 

picture, with its clear, suave intonations, its pale grays and subdued 
yellows, relieved here and there by some russet or purely red tint. 
The lio-ht, like the colour, is limpid, diffused, and chastened, and 
the eftect is won without strong contrasts of any kind. The less 
important details are lost in a golden penumbra, and are very 
slightly indicated : the execution, at once broad and reticent, vigorous 
and discreet, is marvellously attuned to the solemn calm and silence 
of approaching death. Of the handling, indeed, the spectator takes 
little note, so entirely is it subordinated to the sentiment of the 




DR. J. DEVMAN' S LESSON IN ANATOMY. 

1636 (Ryksmuseum, Amstenlam). 



scene, spiritualised, as it were, by a poet who, in the midst of over- 
whelming anxieties, preserves a perfect serenity in his art, and reveals 
himself as he is, tender, affectionate, and pathetic. With a genius 
that commands the reverence of the greatest artists, Rembrandt 
combines a naive familiarity that appeals to the most uninstructed. 
There is no straining after eloquence in his utterances ; for deep in 
his own heart springs the fountain of that magnetic emotion which 
finds an echo in every breast. 

The Denial of St. Peter, in the Hermitage, a picture of nearly 
the same dimensions, with life-size figures in three-quarters length, 



PICTURES OF THIS PERIOD 



329 



was painted at about the same period, probably in the same year 
(1656). The scene, in accordance with the Gospel narrative, is repre- 
sented as taking place in the middle of the night. The darkness 




THE UliSCENT KKOM THE CROSS: A N lUllT-l'IBCK. 

1654 (B. 83). 



is relieved only by the Haming torch in the hand of a maid-servant, 
the light of which falls full on the figure of the apostle, wrapped in a 
loose woollen robe of a yellowish tint. He returns the questioning 
look of the maid with a steady gaze, emphasising his denial by an 



330 REMBRANDT 

expressive gesture. A soldier sits on the edge of a wall, before 
the two central figures, his helmet and part of his armour in his 
hand ; another soldier stands listening to the altercation ; several 
barely distinguishable figures beyond are illuminated only by the 
fitful gleams from a fire burning in the background. The softly 
diffused light of the Jacob blessmg the Children of Joseph is here 
replaced by the concentrated glow of the torch on the face of St. 
Peter, and on the red bodice of the servant, a finely modelled figure 
in a tasteful costume. The broad execution brings out the picturesque 
elements of the conception, and the brown and golden tones that 
predominate are happily relieved by the vivid scarlet of the bodice, 
the one brilliant touch of colour in the picture. A similar harmony 
of yellowish tones prevails in another important work, which we take 
to have been painted at about the same period, the Pilate washing 
his Hands, recently bought by M. Sedelmeyer from Lord Mount- 
Temple. Rembrandt had already treated the episode in two drawings, 
differing but slightly one from another, which are now in the Vienna 
and Stockholm collections respectively. In these he strives to bring 
out the emotional aspects of the theme, while in the picture he 
confines himself almost wholly to the picturesque elements. The 
figure of Christ does not appear in the composition, and the effect 
of the armed men, whose heads are ranged one above another against 
the sky to the right, is somewhat grotesque. Pilate himself, pleased 
to be delivered from responsibility in the matter of "the just 
person " before him, washes his hands with an air of manifest 
satisfaction. A dark-haired child in a green dress with red sleeves 
stands before him, and pours water over his hands into the 
silver basin on his knees. A gray-bearded man beside Pilate, 
probably one of his advisers, seems to commend his prudence. 
The pictorial motive here is the harmony of the iron-gray archi- 
tectural background with the brilliant yellows of this old man's 
robe, and the golden tones of Pilate's mantle, which, with its glitter- 
ing embroidery of precious stones, produces an effect of extraordinary 
brilliance. 

A work of very different character again attests the master's 
versatility. This is the fine grisaille of 1656, The Preaching 
of John the Baptist, once the property of Jan Six. It was 
bought by Cardinal Fesch for ^1,600 (40,000 francs), and now 
belongs to Lord Dudley.^ Rembrandt probably painted it as a 
study for a proposed etching, which he designed for a pendant to 
the Hundred Guilder Piece. For his Ecce Ho7no plate (B. 76), 
already mentioned, he had made a similar study in grisaille the 
year before, w^hich was one of the items in his inventory, and 
passed to England in 1734, at the sale of the W. Six collection.' 

^ It was bought fo7- the Berlin Museum at the sale of the Dudley Collection at Christie's 
in 1892.— 7^ IV. 

2 We do not know where it is to be found at present, but in Smith's Catalogue 
Raisonnc (No. 88) it figures as the properly of Mr. Jeremiah Harman. 




"Si 



"THE PREACHING OF JOHN THE BAPTIST" 331 

The composition, carried out in what is practically a monochrome 
of golden brown, is really a carefully finished picture, and it is not 
surprising that Rembrandt, who disliked the drudgery of reproduc- 
tion, and who at the time had no pupil to whom he could entrust 
the execution of so delicate a piece of work, abandoned the idea of 
the etching. Norblin's print gives a very poor idea of the original, 
accentuatinof as it does all those eccentricities of detail, which 
are lost in the magic of the general effect in the Dudley picture. 
The eager, ascetic figure of the prophet dominates the scene from 
a piece of rising ground. The light falls full upon him as, his hand 
on his breast, he harangues the crowd around him, a multitude of 
all ages, temperaments, and conditions, animated by the most widely 
varied emotions. The infinity of episode is further complicated by 
the diversity of costumes, the picturesque luxuriance of the land- 
scape, the swarming masses of humanity, the rich luxuriance of 
animal life. From a cave over-grown with creepers, a fiight of 
steps leads to a fantastic building on the left. At the entrance is 
an obelisk surmounted by a bust ; a river dashes in a foaming torrent 
through the arches of a bridge, and beyond rise mountains studded 
with forests, villages, and castles. Scattered throughout the land- 
scape are horses taking their rest, ruminating cows, fighting dogs, 
the camels of an approaching caravan. Warriors with halberds and 
lances, standing, sitting, or crouching on the ground, dignified 
figures in flowing robes, citizens, peasants, beggars, children 
wrangling or playing together, women rebuking or caressing them, 
listeners, attentive and indifferent, hesitating and convinced, argu- 
mentative, or rapt in silent ecstasy — a nation, a world, gathers 
round the orator. Yet, notwithstanding the multiplicity of detail, 
the teeming composition is simple in effect, so rhythmical is the flow 
of the lines, so skilful the distribution of the masses, so harmonious 
the grouping of the figures. The balance and unity of the con- 
ception prevail ; and the eye is riveted at once on the inspired 
figure of the preacher as, with burning words and impassioned 
gesture, he delivers to the simple souls around him the divine 
message of salvation. 

Very inferior to this wonderful composition is the only Scriptural 
etching of 1656, Abraham entertaining the Angels (B. 29), a plate 
which, though not wanting in a certain picturesqueness of arrange- 
ment, is chiefly remarkable for the somewhat vulgar singularity of 
the types and costumes. Several of the etched portraits of this 
period, however, must be ranked among the finest of Rembrandt's 
works. The least happy, perhaps, is the portrait of his friend 
Abraham Fransz, the art-dealer (B. 273), whose affection for him 
was unswerving, and who gave him many substantial evidences of 
his attachment. Faithful to his habit of representing his sitters 
engaged in their characteristic pursuits, the master has seated Fransz 
at a window, a print, which he examines with great attention, 
in his hand. On the table before him are several other prints, 



332 



REMBRANDT 



and a small Chinese figure ; a triptych, with the Crucifixion in the 
central panel, hangs on the wall, a picture on either side of it. The 




JAN LUTW£. 

X656 (B. 276). 



opacity of the shadows and a certain roughness in the execution 
give an effect of exaggeration to the chiaroscuro, though the 



PORTRAIT OF JAN LUTAIA 



333 



composition itself is irreproachable.^ In the Portrait of Jan Lutma 
(B. 276), dated 1656, it would be difficult, on the other hand, to 
find a fault. He, too, was probably one of the master's friends, or, 
at any rate, a man in whose society Rembrandt took pleasure. A 
native of Groningen, Lutma, who was seventy-two years old at 
the date of his portrait, had a great reputation at Amsterdam 
as a sculptor and goldsmith. His dishes, vases, and goblets, of a 
very original style, somewhat heavy, but broad and rich in effect, 
were much in request among amateurs, and were often offered as 
prizes in the competitions 
between the military 
guilds. They figured 
on many patrician side- 
boards, and in many of 
the corporation treasuries, 
and several specimens 
are still preserved in the 
Chamber of Antiqttities 
at Amsterdam. Lutma 
was himself a lover of 
the arts ; he collected 
engravings, and had com- 
missioned Jacob Backer 
to paint the portraits of 
himself and his wife some 
years before." His son, 
Jacob Lutma, born at 
Amsterdam in 1609, was 
an artist. He composed 
a series of ornamental 
designs for goldsmiths, 
sculptors, and stone- 
carvers, and was himself 
a chaser and engraver 
of considerable talent. 
The four plates he e.xe- 
cuted from busts of him- 
self, Vondel, Hooft ["alter Tacitus"), and his father, by the latter, are 
remarkable for their boldness of drawing and originality of treatment. 
The year that Rembrandt etched his portrait of the elder Lutma, 
the son also produced a plate from the same model, in which he 
seems to have profited by some advice from the master, for the execu- 
tion is freer and richer than in his other works, and the two prints, 

1 The plate of ' Abraham Fransz ' passed /hro//^i;;h what was even an unusual number 
of ' states ' — in itself I think, some evidence that though it has its intirest for us, t/ie 
print never ivholly satisfied the 7naster. The modifcations cannot all have been made to 
repair the ravages of use, and, if the first conception 7C'as not perfect, the afterthoughts 
were not all of them happy. — F. IV^. 

2 These two portraits are now in Count Inniszcch's collection in Paris. 




SUI'POSED PORTRAIT OF FRANS BRUYNINGH. 

1653 (Cassel Museum). 



334 REMBRANDT 

though very unequal in merit, have a certain analogy. Rembrandt 
must naturally have been attracted to a household where so many 
of his own tastes obtained. In Lutma's portrait he once more 
characterises his sitter by accessories denoting his habits and 
occupation. On the table beside him are a silver dish, a box of 
gravers, and a hammer. The famous goldsmith, who wears a black 
skull-cap and flowing gown, holds in his right hand a metal figure, 
probably his own work. In his keen eyes, intelligent features, and 
complacent smile, Rembrandt suggests, with no less truth than charm, 
the concentrated experience of a long life devoted to a much loved 
art, and the legitimate satisfaction of a man whose wealth had been 
won by honourable toil. 

Rembrandt's relations with the Lutmas belong, strictly speaking, 
to his more prosperous days. But two other portraits of this period 
are closely associated with the difficulties and trials of his later career. 
The Portrait of Young Haaring (B. 275), though dark and somewhat 
loaded in treatment, is marked by the same hastiness of execution 
as the Portrait of Ab)^ahani Fransz ; but that of Old Haaring 
(B. 274) is unquestionably one of the finest of Rembrandt's creations. 
Its depth and richness of tone, its truth of expression, its decision 
and flexibility of handling, are unsurpassed in the whole of the 
master's a^uvre. The venerable face, with its crown of white hair, 
is full of a benign serenity. Haaring was an official of the Bankruptcy 
Court, and Rembrandt, whether in recognition of past services, or in 
hope of future favours, was evidently anxious to please the personage 
with whom his crrowinof difficulties had brought him into contact. 

If we may accept the title by which it is commonly known, a picture 
in the Cassel Gallery, the so-called Portrait of Frans BriLynmgh 
(No. 221) is another memorial of Rembrandt's ruin, for Bruyningh 
was secretary to the Bankruptcy Court. But, as Dr. Eisenmann 
has pointed out, there is really very little evidence for this comparatively 
modern appellation. He adduces the date on the portrait, which he 
takes to be 1652, in support of his contention. The last figure is not 
very legible. But after careful examination, we came to the conclu- 
sion already arrived at by Dr. Bode, that the figures are 1658, a 
date which is fully borne out by the execution. The work, in any 
case, is highly interesting. Both pose and costume are extremely 
simple. The light falls full on the very attractive head of the model ; 
the rest of the figure is bathed in a warm, transparent shadow. 
There is a haunting charm in this frank face, with its setting ot rich 
brown hair, its smiling lips and eyes, its expression of cordial sweetness 
and sincerity. Never did Rembrandt show a more perfect compre- 
hension of artistic sacrifice ; never did he display greater mastery 
in the rendering of forms at once definite and mysterious, in the 
treatment of chiaroscuro, or in the suggestion of a fascinating 
personality. 

Despite his courageous and determined industry, Rem- 
brandt's ruin was inevitable. His desperate attempts to raise 



TITUS' WILL 335 

money, and to collect the sums due to him, were all un- 
availing. His resources were totally insufficient to meet his 
accumulated debts. The evil day was no longer to be staved 
off; and his creditors, incensed at the measures he had adopted to 
protect the interests of Titus, at last proceeded against him. 
Rembrandt was accordingly declared bankrupt, and on July 25 
and 26, 1656, an inventory was made by order of the Bank- 
ruptcy Court of "all the pictures, furniture, and household goods 
of the debtor, Rembrandt van Ryn, inhabiting the Breestraat, 
near St. Anthony's Lock." The sale, however, was delayed 
awhile to give time for preliminary formalities necessitated by 
Rembrandt's circumstances, and it seems probable that he 
remained in his house. But under such conditions he must 
have had little time at his disposal. The business details he 
had always shunned were now forced upon him. He was in 
the grip of the law, closely beset by his creditors, and full of 
anxieties as to the future of his son. On May 17, 1656, the 
guardianship of Titus had been transferred to a certain Jan 
Verbout. Titus, however, continued to show the warmest 
affection for his father. The will he executed on October 
20, 1657, and to which he made an addition necessitated by 
some irregularity of form on November 22 following, gives con- 
vincing proof of his attachment, not only to Rembrandt, but to 
Hendrickje and her daughter Cornelia. Recognising his father's 
incapacity for the management of his own affairs, and the dis- 
abilities to which the claims of his creditors subjected him as a 
legatee, Titus bequeathes all his property to Hendrickje and to his 
half-sister Cornelia, on condition that Rembrandt shall enjoy the 
income arising therefrom during his life. If, however, his father 
should prefer to take his legitimate share of the heritage, it is 
directed that this be paid over to him from the estate, and that the 
residue be allowed to accumulate for Cornelia, and become her property 
either on her majority or her marriage. It is further provided 
that none of the income shall be used by Rembrandt to pay 
off debts contracted before the date of the will, and that, at 
his death, it shall revert to Hendrickje and her daughter Cornelia. 
At Cornelia's death her riehts shall be transferred to her children, 
failing which the capital shall be equally divided between friends 
of the testator's father and mother, Hendrickje still retaining a life 
interest in the property. 

Harassed by his creditors, and forced to occupy himself with 
matters for which he had no aptitude, Rembrandt was no longer 
able to seek distraction from his sorrows in his work, and this 
deprivation must have greatly enhanced the bitterness of his mis- 
fortunes. The year 1657 is one of the least productive of his 
career. We note but one etching, a vSV. Francis Praying (B. 107), 
treated in a somewhat summary manner. It represents the 
saint kneeling before a crucifix at the entrance of a picturesque 



33^ 



REMBRANDT 



grotto in deep shadow. The only Scriptural subject is the 
Adoration of the Maof at Buckingham Palace, an upright com- 
position, the small dimensions and numerous figures in which 
would seem to indicate a return to an earlier manner, but for the 
breadth of the handling and the richness of the harmony, in which 
reds and yellows predominate. The faces are full of life and expres- 
sion, notably that of the old man kneeling beside the^ Virgin, who 
reverently lays his offering at the feet of the Holy Child. The re- 
maining pictures of this 
year are all studies made 
by the master from himself 
or those about him. Dr. 
Bode mentions a fine por- 
trait of a young man seated 
in an arm-chair, belonging 
to the Duke of Rutland, 
signed, and dated 1657. 
The Rabbi of the National 
Gallery is a vigorous study 
of an old man in a fur 
cloak, with a black cap, 
which throws a strong 
shadow on his forehead. 
A ray of strongly concen- 
trated light strikes on the 
nose and the right cheek 
of a thin pale face, with 
brown beard and mou- 
staches. The Portrait of 
an Old Alan in a meditative 
Attitude, in the Duke of 
Devonshire's collection at 
Chiswick, is equally broad 
in treatment, and the ex- 
pression of the head is 
even more remarkable. 
We may further mention 
three small studies of heads, one in Mr. Alfred Buckley's collection, 
the other two owned by M. Leon Bonnat and M. Rodolphe Kann. 
Both the latter are painted from the same model, a so-called Rabbi 
in a brown cap, with a spreading beard. The light falls on the 
wrinkled forehead and strongly marked brows, beneath which gleam 
a pair of singularly piercing eyes. The effect in these sketches is 
frank and life-like ; and the rich impasto of the high lights is very 
dexterously opposed to the deep golden shadows of the surrounding 
surfaces. 

In the Portrait of a Youth in Lady Wallace's collection, we 
recognise Titus, older by some two or three years than in M. 




DE\ VOOBCEVEL IAS HET BvRCER-WeesHLIS IS DE KaLVERSTBAAT, 
LATER OE KEIZERSKROON', OMSTREEKS I560 CEBOl'WO. 
(Fnc-itmjti ctntr tttliftiii^ vsii 17:5^- 

THE 'imperial CROWN ' AT AMSTERDAM. 

Facsimile of a drawing of 1725. 



REMBRANDT'S STUDIES FROM HIMSELF 



337 



Rodolphe Kami's fine picture. He is painted almost full face, 
simply dressed in a brown cloak, and a red cap, from beneath which 
his hair falls in curlinq- locks about his neck. There is a slisfht 
down on his upper lip, but his face shows the same traces of ill- 
health, and is marked by the same sweetness of expression. In 
the isolation of his life at this period, Rembrandt naturally made 
frequent studies from himself. We recognise his features in several 
portraits, some dated, some ascribed to this period on internal 
evidences. One of these is in the Bridgwater Gallery, another in 
the Cassel Museum. The latter bears a date, which Dr. Eisen- 
mann deciphers 1654. The execution, however, and the apparent 
age of the sitter, seem to us sufficient evidence that it was painted 



I 







LANDSCAPE STUDY. 

Pen drawing (British Museum). 



at a later period. A third of these studies belongs to Lord 
Ilchester, and is dated 1658. It appeared at the Winter Exhibi- 
tion of 1889, where it attracted universal admiration, being, in fact, 
as Dr. Bredius observed,^ the gem of the collection. It is a three- 
quarters length of the master. He wears a fanciful costume, and 
holds a stick in his hand. The painting is wonderfully luminous 
in effect, and in perfect condition. The tlesh tints are clear 
and brilliant, the hands broadly and firmly modelled. The 
melancholy eyes meet those of the spectator with an exj)res- 
sion of deep dejection. Another portrait of the master, exhibited 
at the Royal Academy by Lord Ashburton in 1890, is closely 
allied to the last in treatment and expression, and was probably 

^ Old Masters in the Royal Academy^ 1889; extract from x\\q Nederlandsche Spectator, 
1889, No. 17. 



338 REMBRANDT 

painted in the same year. The hair is grizzled, but the features, 
though somewhat heavier, are manly and vigorous, and the eyes 
have lost none of their keenness. The master wears a black cap, 
and a tunic of yellowish brown, opening over a red vest with 
sleeves, probably his working dress, for it reappears in the Cassel 
picture, and in a portrait in the Dresden Gallery, signed, and 
dated 1657, which, though it has deteriorated to a certain extent, 
and is somewhat black in the shadows, seems to us the most 
pathetic of the series. The days of fanciful costumes, military 
trappings, and lofty bearing are past. Under the stress of years 
and misfortune, the master's sedentary habits have grown upon 
him, and his dress has become severely simple, even negligent, 
according to Baldinucci, who relates that it was his practice, when 
painting, to wipe his brushes on his clothes. He is represented with 
a pen in his right hand, an ink-bottle and album in his left, engaged 
upon a drawing. In happier days he had been able to shake off his 
troubles, and forget himself in his work ; but now the sadness of 
his face has become habitual, and the wrinkles are many, and 
strongly marked. 

He had abundant cause for melancholy. Towards the close ot 
1657, the commissioners of the Bankruptcy Court had instructed 
Thomas Jacobsz Haaring to sell his goods. He was therefore forced 
at last to quit the home he had created, and to which he was bound 
by so many tender memories. On December 4 he removed to the 
Imperial Crown, an inn, kept by one B. Schuurman, in the 
Kalverstraat. As we may judge from the facsimile of an old drawing 
we borrow from Oud-Holland^ this inn was a remarkable building 
in the Dutch Renaissance style, which had been the municipal 
orphanage till 1578, since when it had become a much-frequented 
hostelry. Its name was derived from the crown carved over the main 
entrance, and repeated above the shields on either side of the 
facade. Public sales were commonly held at this inn in Rembrandt's 
time, and the custom seems to have continued into the next century, 
for in our reproduction, the original of which dates from 1725, two 
persons in the foreground appear to be reading a notice of some 
such proceeding. Judging from the accounts of his daily expenses 
at the Imperial Crown, which average from three to four florins a day, 
it seems probable that Rembrandt was alone at the inn, and that 
Hendrickje and Titus were bestowed elsewhere.^ On December 25, 
a portion of Rembrandt's collections was sold at the inn ; but the 
moment seems to have been an unfavourable one for some reason ; 
and though the sale extended over six days, the more important 
items, including the greater part of the prints and drawings, were 
reserved till September, 1658, when a fresh sale took place at the 
same spot. The whole of the rare and beautiful things collected, 

1 Oud JJo/iatid, vi. p. 48. 

- These accounts, which figure among the papers relating to the bankruptcy, were 
pubhshed by Scheltema and Vosmaer. 



I 



REMBRANDT DECLARED A BANKRUPT 



339 



as the catalogue puts it, " with great discrimination by Rembrandt 
van Ryn," realised the ludicrously inadequate sum of 5,000 florins. 
The house in the Breestraat had already been disposed of on 
February i, 1658, by authority of the ('chevins, at the instance of 
the commissioner Henricus Torquinius, for 13,600 florins, which 
price was to include "the two stoves, and the partitions in the 
garret, which Rembrandt had used that his pupils might be sepa- 
rated." But the purchaser, a certain Pieter Wiebrantsz, mason, 
was apparently unable to carry out his contract, for the transaction 
was not completed. Another bidder, who offered 12,000 florins, 
was also unable to give the necessary securities, and a bargain 
was finally concluded with one Lieven Simonsz, a shoemaker, 
whose offer of 11,218 florins was accepted on the security of two 
other citizens. 

We shall deal later on with the litigation connected with the 
proceeds of these successive sales. Meanwhile, Rembrandt's ruin 
was complete. At the age of fifty-five he found himself homeless 
and penniless, stripped of all that had made life pleasant to him, com- 
pelled to leave his refuge in the inn without even paying the expenses 
of that melancholy sojourn, during which all the treasures he had 
collected " with great discrimination " were divided among strangers 
before his eyes. 



\aO 



??S?^':^ 










r\J 



ENTKANCK TO A inWN. 

Pen drawing (Duke of Devonshire). 



~frn 






>^ 






-•-5'-i''/->, 



PEN DRAWING OF A LANDSCAPE. 

(Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 



CHAPTER XIX. 



Rembrandt's difficulties with his creditors — his lonely life — the 
'Christ' in count orloff-davidoff's collection — ' david and saul ' — 

portraits of this period (1658-1660) — -THE ' BURGOMASTER SIX ' ' COPPENOL ' 

ETCHINGS OF HENDRICK.JE — PORTRAITS OF TITUS AND OF REMBRANDT HIMSELF — 
THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN TITUS AND HENDRICKJE. 




T 



HE unsettled life to which he 
was condemned for a while 
after the loss of his home 
must have been no small trial to one 
of Rembrandt's peace-loving tem- 
perament. He was now obliged to 
look for a lodging sufficiently spacious 
to serve as a studio, among the out- 
lying districts where the rents were 
within his means. His art was more 
than ever necessary to him, both as 
a diversion and a means of liveli- 
hood. But he felt strangely out of 
his element in the various temporary 
dwelling-places with which he was 
forced to content himself, after the 
home which he had arranged to suit his own tastes and convenience. 
He had not only lost his engravings, his precious stuffs, his jewels, and 
all the accessories he had hitherto considered essential to his art ; but 
now, when advancing age was beginning to tell upon his sight, he was 
forced to accept such conditions of illumination as his improvised 
studios afforded. Neither had he come to the end of his business 
anxieties. His own affairs were indeed past mending. But it was his 
duty to give such help as he could to Titus' representative in his 



IKN SKETCH, WITH WASH. 

(British Museum.) 



REMBRANDT'S DIFFICULTIES WITH HIS CREDITORS 341 

endeavours to make good the claims of the latter to a share in the 
profits arising from the sales. To save further explanations on this 
head, we may here give a brief account of the complications which 
arose from the settlement of the accounts. 

On January 30, 1658, the commissioners in bankruptcy authorised 
the municipal secretary to pay C. Witsen the 4,180 florins owing 
to him, and in spite of the determined opposition of Louis Crayers, 
who had succeeded Jan Verbout as Titus' guardian, the other chief 
creditor, Isaac van Hertsbeek, was also repaid his share of the loan 
(4,200 florins) on May 10 following. A settlement was also effected 
with several of the other creditors, notably with the heir of Christoffel 
Thysz, the former proprietor of the house in the Breestraat, who re- 
ceived the equivalent of his mortgage on the property. But Crayers, 
a better man of business than his predecessor, carried on a vigorous 
campaign in defence of his ward's interests. His contention was, 
that thouoh Rembrandt had made no formal acknowledqfment of his 
son's claims after Saskia's death, these claims could not be set aside, 
and were, in fact, safeguarded by Titus' rights as a minor. Crayers 
further sought to establish by various evidences that Rembrandt's 
assessment of his personalty at 40,750 florins at the time of his wife's 
death was by no means exaggerated, and that Titus' heritage 
consequently amounted to 20,375 florins, the half of this total. 
Rembrandt's creditors, on the other hand, left no stone unturned to 
prove that he had greatly overstated the actual value of his property. 
Crayers retorted by calling witnesses to support his estimate. The 
result was a long inquiry, in the course of which, as was mentioned 
in the last chapter, Van Loo the goldsmith and his wife. Philips de 
Koninck, and several art-dealers were heard in evidence. Other 
witnesses were also produced by Crayers and Rembrandt. Jan 
Pietersz, clothier, and Nicolaes van Cruysbergen, provost to the 
municipality, who both figure in the Night Watch, were responsible 
for the information we have already noted as to the price of that 
work. A collector named Adriaen Banck had paid Rembrandt 500 
florins in 1647 ^O'' ^ Stcsamia at the Bath. Saskia's cousin, Hendrick 
van Uylenborch, gave evidence as to having acted as arbitrator be- 
tween Rembrandt and Andries de Graeff in the matter of a portrait 
for which the latter claimed and received 500 florins. Abraham 
Wilmerdonx, Director of the East India Company, deposed to 
having paid Rembrandt 500 florins for a portrait of himself and his 
wife, with a further sum of 60 florins for the canvas and frame. 
Finally, one of the dealers who had been called upon to value the 
master's collections, proved having sold him a picture by Rubens 
of Hero and Leander, which he kept some years, for 530 florins. 
On such evidences of Rembrandt's earnings, and of the valuables 
among his possessions, Crayers founded his contention that his estimate 
of Rembrandt's property in 1647 was a fair and reasonable one, and 
that Titus' claim of 20,375 florins against the estate must be allowed 
priority over those of all subsequent creditors. A series of tedious 



342 



REMBRANDT 



and complicated actions before various tribunals followed. Witsen, 
who seems to have taken better precautions than his colleague, or 
whose position as a municipal councillor perhaps gave him a secret 
advantage, retained the sum paid over to him, but Van Hertsbeek, 
by a judgment given May 5, 1660, was compelled to disgorge his 
4,200 florins, and hand them over to Crayers. His successive appeals 
to the Provincial Court and the Grand Council were dismissed, both 
courts confirming the previous judgment, which accordingly came into 
force June 20, 1665. When all the costs of this litigation were paid, 
Titus' inheritance amounted to a sum of 6,952 florins, which he duly 
received on November 5, 1665. 

The possibilities of such a fortune were not extensive, and 
pending its acquisition, the pinch of poverty must have been 
severely felt by the master and his belongings. A few etchings 
saved out of the wreck were no doubt sold by way of sup- 
plementing such sums as Rembrandt could earn by painting. 
But the moment was not a favourable one for the sale of pictures, 
more especially Rembrandt's pictures. A taste for the arts had 
indeed become much more widespread in Amsterdam, but painters 
had multiplied as the demand for their works increased. At the 
close of a festival held October 20, 1653, at the Docle7i of Saint 
George, in honour of their patron, the members of the Guild of 
Saint Luke, which had hitherto admitted tapestry-workers, glass- 
makers, and persons of various allied crafts, pronounced in favour of 
an entire reconstruction of the Guild, and a restriction of membership 
to painters, sculptors, and amateurs of the arts. The inauguration of 
the new body thus constituted took place a year later, on October 
21, 1654.^ Foremost among the promoters of the new association 
were Martin Kretzer, Asselyn's brother-in-law, N. Helt-Stockade, 
and B. van der Heist ; but we search the list of members in vain 
for the name of Rembrandt. It was not alone his love of solitude 
or his somewhat unsociable temper that kept him aloof ; the very 
character of his genius tended to isolate him from his brother-artists. 
The representatives of that great generation which had founded the 
Dutch school were beginning to dwindle. In Amsterdam, Rem- 
brandt and his pupils were the sole adherents of the earlier tradition. 
Lastmann, Elias, and Jacob Backer were dead ; Thomas de Keyser, 
Rembrandt's forerunner and sometime rival, now confined himself to 
pictures of small dimensions ; and those among Rembrandt's pupils 
who had taken his place in the public favour, Ferdinand Bol, 
Govert Flinck, and Nicolaes Maes, had completely abandoned his 
manner, seduced by the more popular style of Van der Heist, 
then in the heyday of his reputation. Painters who had formerly 
imitated Rembrandt, recognising the reaction, gradually detached 
themselves from him. Houbraken tells us that J. de Baen, on leaving 
Backer's studio in 1651, had hesitated for a time as to which 
manner he should adopt, that of Rembrandt or of Van Dyck, and 

^ Vosmaer, p. 325. 



roiirail of Kcinbi-uiuU ( jOjS). 

(LUKll ILCIlliSrllK's CUI.I-liCTION.) 



HIS TYPE OF CHRIST 343 

had finally decided on the latter, as "more durable." Landscape 
painters, such as Jacob van Ruysdael and Adriaen van de Velde, 
and masters of genre such as Pieter de Hooch, still maintained 
the glory and originality of the school. But the honours of the 
day were not for them. These were reserved for a style, the 
essentials of which were clarity, minute finish, a smooth, polished 
fusion of tints. The insipid prettinesses and affected grace of the 
academic school were exalted by the devotees of classic correct- 
ness, far above Rembrandt's noble simplicity and robust virility of 
execution. To them his compositions were too familiar, his sin- 
cerity too uncompromising, his colour too intense. Thus he found 
himself at last entirely deserted. But he cared little for the 
suffrages of the crowd. Even when most successful he had never 
abated one jot of his independence, and it was not to be expected 
that he should make concessions to fashion now, when his powers 
had reached their richest maturity. He set his face more steadily 
than ever towards the goal he had marked out for himself. The 
artist was now no longer a collector, and thus his very ruin tended 
to confirm him in the simplicity to which he had inclined more and 
more throughout his career. Within the bare walls of his make- 
shift studios, seeking solace in work and meditation, he lived for his 
art more absolutely than before ; and some of his creations of this 
period have a poetry and depth of expression such as he had never 
hitherto achieved. 

Notwithstanding his manifold vexations and anxieties, he had set 
up his easel with unabated courage, though in many of his com- 
positions of this period we catch the echo of his melancholy. The 
personality of the Saviour had always strongly attracted him ; but 
now his own sorrows seem to have given him a peculiar insight into 
the Christly Life. He returns again and again to the Divine Figure, 
striving in each fresh essay after a more complete suggestion oi the 
ideal type he had conceived. Some years before he had sought to 
express this sublime embodiment of spotlessness ami compassion in 
the beautiful study of a head, now in M. Rodolphe Kann's collection. 
But in the larger study painted about 1658-1660, the conception is 
nobler and more impressive. We refer to the fine picture exhibited 
at Vienna in 1873, '^^^^ ^'^ow in Count Orloff Davidoff's collection at 
St. Petersburg. The face is turned full to the spectator ; the figure, 
a half-length, is very simply posed, the arms partly crossed, the left 
hand resting on the right arm. The dress is a reddish tunic, open at 
the throat, and a dark mantle, drawn round the shoulders. A mass of 
bright brown hair, divided in the middle, falls on either side ot the 
pure and delicately-featured face. The dark beard and moustache 
accentuate the pallor ot the complexion ; the large clear eyes look 
out from the canvas with an expression of mingled sweetness and 
authority. The broad handling, which has a somewhat confused 
appearance on close examination, is singularly powerful from a little 
distance, and amply justifies the master's methods by its perfection of 



344 



REMBRANDT 



modelling and consummate knowledge of effect. The supernatural 
beauty and serenity of this type reappears in another picture of 1661, 
the Ecce Hoino in the Aschaffenburg Museum, where the Saviour is 
represented full-face, draped in a white robe open at the breast, 
on which the light is concentrated, the head being in deep, transparent 
shadow. 

Of subjects which appealed strongly to his imagination Rembrandt 
never wearied. He returned to them time after time, approaching 




ST. PETER DELIVERED FROM PRISON. 

Pen drawing heightened with wash (Albertina). 



them from various points of view, bent on solving their Innermost 
mysteries. At this period, when his emotions were so deeply stirred 
by the vision of a compassionate Saviour, he felt a kindred attraction 
for those mystic gouIs who sought, in solitude and prayer, a closer 
communion with the Christ to whom he felt himself drawn by his own 
sorrows. Inspired by some sympathetic impulse strangely opposed to 
the practical Protestant spirit of those among w^hom he dwelt, he 
had already, in an etching of 1657, shown us Saint Francis, prostrate 
in holy ecstasy at the foot of the Cross. The same train of thought 
seems to have been at work in his choice of a monastic habit for his 



RELIGIOUS COMPOSITIONS 



345 



models in three studies painted in 1660. Count Sergius Strogonoff's 
example, a somewhat hastily executed work, represents a melancholy- 
looking YoJing- Monk, his cowl drawn over his head ; Lord Wemyss' 
Monk, at Gosford Park, is a man of about forty, with a fair beard. 




ST. JEKOMK. 

About 165a (B. 104). 



The face is entirely in shadow, but a brilliant light falls on his hand 
and on the book he reads. This is a clear and luminous picture, in 
excellent condition. The Capuc/iin, in the National Gallery, has 
unfortunately suffered somewhat from time. The devout gravity ot 



346 



REMBRANDT 



the face is finely expressed, but the dark and somewhat dirty flesh- 
tones have caused doubts as to the authenticity of the work, which 
is, however, sufficiently evident. 

Attractive as Rembrandt seems to have found these subjects, 
his mind was not wholly eni^rossed by them ; several pictures of a 
very different character, inspired by Biblical themes, belong to the 
year 1659. Two of these in the Berlin Museum — Moses breaking the 
Tables of the Law, and Jacob wrestling zuith the Angel — are viol(;nt 
compositions, harsh and somewhat coarse in handling, the unpleasant 
effect of which is no doubt due in some measure to their deteriora- 
tion. The Moses in particular is very hastily treated, and the 
conception of the Lawgiver as a choleric person, brandishing the 
tables of stone above his head in a sudden access of fury, is vulgar 
and prosaic. In the second picture, however, there are touches of 
a happier inspiration, notably in the contrast of Jacob's desperate 
endeavours with the severe calm of the Angel, who refrains from 
bringing his adversary to the ground, content to make him feel his 
helplessness. The David playing the Harp before Saul, formerly 
in Baron Oppenheim's collection at Frankfort, and recently in the 
possession of M. Bourgeois of Paris, we take to have been painted 
about 1660. It is an important composition of two life-size figures, 
for which Rembrandt made a pen and ink study, now belonging to 
M. Bonnat. David, a red-haired youth in a scarlet tunic, stands at 
the foot of the throne, and endeavours to soothe the frenzied king 
with the strains of his harp. Saul wears a high turban surmounted 
by a crown, and a purple mantle over a tunic richly embroidered 
with gold and precious stones. His face is fixed in an expression 
of the deepest melancholy, and he wipes the tears that spring to 
his eyes on the drapery beside him ; the tumult of his mind 
betrays itself in his wild looks, and the furious gesture with which 
he grips the spear in his hand proclaims the danger incurred by 
the young musician. He, however, absorbed in the play of his 
own skilful fingers, and unconscious of peril, gives himself up to 
the delight of improvisation. The contrast between the two figures, 
each engrossed in his distinct emotion, is stirringly rendered ; the 
richness of the execution, and the powerful harmony of the red and 
golden tones, partake of that breadth and splendour which characterised 
Rembrandt's last pictures. 

The year 1658 was marked by one of Rembrandt's rare essays 
in the treatment of mythological subjects : Jupiter and jMcrciiry 
received by Philemon and Baucis. The theme was one which had 
already attracted the master : a somewhat confused sketch in the 
Berlin Museum represents the old couple preparing for the enter- 
tainment of their guests. But the composition of the small picture, 
recently bought by Mr. C. J. Yerkes of Chicago from M. Sedelmeyer, 
is infinitely more picturesque and sympathetic. Jupiter, seated face 
to face with Mercury, expresses to his hosts his satisfaction at the 
welcome accorded to him and his companion. The husband and 



STUDIES AND PORTRAITS 347 

wife, approaching their guests to offer them a white goose, suddenly 
become aware of their divinity, and fall terror-stricken at their feet. 
A taper, the flame of which is concealed by Mercury, lights the 
humble cottage, dimly revealing its boarded partitions, the mats 
hanging from the beams, and on the left a few logs blazing on the 
hearth. The light is concentrated on the King of Olympus, a 
personage of somewhat fantastic aspect in a blue tunic with gold em- 
broideries, and on the venerable features of the aged pair, who worship 
with folded hands. Their attitude of fervent adoration involuntarily 
suggests the Disciples at Eminaus, which Rembrandt certainly had 
in his mind when treating;- this mvtholoeical theme. 

Together with these compositions, the master, happy to be once 
more at work, painted a considerable number of portraits and studies 
from models about him. Some neighbour probably figures in M. L. 
Goldschmidt's study of 1656-58 known as Rcinbraudf s Cook. She 
stands by a window, her rubicund face turned almost full to the 
spectator, a knife in her hand, with which she seems to be meditating 
an onslaught on some fowl outside. Her brown hair is drawn under 
a white cap, over which she wears a red hood : her brown skirt has 
a red bodice and sleeves, partially covered by a thick white ker- 
chief. The strongly illumined head is very frankly modelled, and the 
brilliant carnations of the vulgar, but healthy and vigorous face, stand 
out in strong relief from the brown background. The study of a 
young girl, painted no doubt at about the same period, which we saw 
in M. Sedelmeyer's possession, whence it has now passed into that of 
Mr, Robert Hoe of New York, is no less remarkable. The model is 
a girl of about sixteen or seventeen, with a brilliant complexion, deep 
and piercing eyes, and an air of strong individuality. Rembrandt has 
painted her in one of those animated attitudes he loved to render, one 
hand on her breast, the other outstretched, and very skilfully fore- 
shortened. The dress makes up a harmony of varying reds with 
yellowish grays, and the vigour of the drawing is accentuated by the 
vivacity of the effect. But the transitions are so carefully managed that 
the contrast between the brilliant lights and intense shadows is not 
excessive. Here we recognise Rembrandt's methods as described by 
the worthy De Piles. ^ "It was his custom to place his models directly 
beneath a strongly concentrated light. By this means the shadows 
were made very intense, while the surfaces which caught the light 
were brought more closely together, the general effect gaining greatly 
in solidity and tangibility." 

Among the studies of this j^eriod we find se\eral of those heads 
of old people for which Rembrandt showed so strong a predilection. 
We may draw attention to the Old Lady in the Duke of Buccleuch's 
collection, painted in 1660. She wears a white fichu and a brown 
hood, and seems to be entirely absorbed in the book before her. 
Another Old Woman, painted in 1658, is still more remarkable. But 
that her wrinkles are deeper and more numerous, and her cheeks 
^ Abn'i^e de la Vie des JM/ilns, 17 15, p. 411. 



548 



REMBRANDT 



hollower — and this may perhaps be accounted for by the interval ol 
time which separates this from the earher studies — we might identify 
her with the model for the portraits of 1654 in the Hermitage and in 
Count Moltke's collection at Copenhagen, of which we have already 
spoken. The portrait in question is the magnificent study of an old 
woman, engaged in the prosaic task of cutting her nails, recently 

bought by M. Rodolphe 
Kann in Russia.^ She is 
seated scissors in hand in 
an armchair, almost facing 
the spectator, dressed in a 
yellow gown with a brown 
bodice, and a hood of gray 
and pale yellow, which 
throws a strong shadow 
over her face. She seems 
to have suffered . deeply, 
and her worn features, and 
loose, wrinkled skin pro- 
claim her failing strength. 
Notwithstanding the vul- 
garity of her features, and 
the excessive homeliness 
of her occupation, the effect 
she produces is grave and 
dignified. In this exam- 
ple, the execution, though 
free, is masterly to a de- 
gree, and in certain pas- 
sages, such as the model- 
ling of the face and hands, 
and the rendering of the 
furs and the bodice, ex- 
tremely delicate. Criticism 
is disarmed before the 
manifold beauties of this 
fine work, one of the most 
vioforous and brilliant in 
Rembrandt's oeiivre^ as regards its resonant intonations — the reds, 
yellows, and iron-grays affected by the master at this period — the power 
and exquisite refinement of its harmony, its expressive quality, and im- 
posing effect. Among the studies from masculine models of this period, 
we must be content with a brief mention of the St. Paul in Lord 




REMliHANUT IN HIS WORKING DRESS. 

Pen drawing (Heseltine Collection). 



1 This picture was in the Ingham-f'oster collection towards the close of the last 
century. It was engraved by J. G. Haid for the Boydell collection, and was catalogued 
by Smith, who had never seen the original, from this engraving. It was brought to Russia 
by M. Bibikoff, and was for some time at Moscow, in the possession of M. Massaloff, the 
father of the well-known engraver. 



STUDIES AND PORTRAITS 349 

Wimborne's collection at Canford Manor, painted about 1658- 1660, a 
seated figure, girt with a sword, posed in a pensive attitude by a table ; 
and the Portrait of a Merchant, reading near a window, painted in 
1659, a work in Lord Feversham's possession at Duncombe Park, 




FIGUKE OP CIIKIST. 

About 1658— 1660 (Count OrlolTj DavidoflT)- 



described to me by Dr. Bode. The Old Man in the National 
Gallery, wrapped in a fur-trimmed rol)e, and wearing on his head a 
reddish cap, is dated 1659. This jjicture, which is i)aintcd in a 
rich, fat impasto, very skilfully worked up, has unfortunately darkc-ned 
a good deal, but the thin face, with its melancholy e.xpression, and the 



REMBRANDT 



deep-set eyes that look out with a piercing brilHance from under the 
shaggy eyebrows, make a strong impression on the spectator. Another 
study of the same period, in the Pitti Palace, an Old Man Seated, is 
painted with the same mastery of chiaroscuro, but the colour is warmer, 
and the general effect very luminous. With these we may class a 
small Study of a Head in M. Rodolphe Kann's collection, represent- 
ing a man with long red 
hair, features of a proud 
and aristocratic type, and 
a very penetrating ex- 
pression ; and two Por- 
traits of Youths, more 
in the nature of brilliant 
sketches — the first, in 
which the sitter wears a 
gray dress, and a black 
hat with a red plume, be- 
longing to Lord Spencer 
at Althorp, and errone- 
ously supposed to repre- 
sent William III.; the 
other a Young ]\I an Sing- 
ing, in the Belvedere, a 
broadly treated and lu- 
minous study of a model 
who wears a cap, from 
beneath which his bright 
brown hair waves luxuri- 
antly about his face. A 
picture formerly in the 
Crabbe collection, sold in 
Paris, June 12, 1890, is 
a more important work.^ 
It is the life-size portrait 
of a man, rather more than 
three - quarters length, 
turned almost full face 
to the spectator. He 
wears a broad-brimmed hat, and a loose furred robe over a red 
doublet embroidered in gold. A pouch is fastened by a leather strap 
across his breast, on which hangs a small gold instrument, apparently a 
whistle, an ornament which occurs in several portraits of this period. 
It was, no doubt, a symbol of authority, and, as such, may account 
for the title. The Admiral, bestowed on the personage of this 
portrait. His features have no great distinction, but the head is full 
of vitality, and the thin face, in its setting of long reddish hair, 
bespeaks the man of action. The high lights are accentuated by 
•^ It sold for ^4.260, and now belongs to Mr. Schaus of New York. 




DilVlL) ON HIS KNEES. 
1652 (1). 41). 



''AN OLD WOMAN CUTTING HER NAILS" 



351 



Strong shadows ; the colouring, which seems somewhat excessive 
at close quarters, resolves itself, when viewed from a distance, into a 
glowmg harmony of the utmost richness. 

The studies of friends or relatives, however, have a deeper interest 




AN OLD WOMy.N CUTTING HER NAILS. 

1658 (Kann Collection). 



for us than these portraits of unknown models. Among Rembrandt's 
sitters of this period we find the Burgomaster Si.x, whose friendship 
with Rembrandt remained unbroken. From a document recently 
discovered by Messrs. Brcdius and Do Rocvcr ^ we learn that in 1653 

^ Oud-Hoiland, viii. p. 181. 



352 



REMBRANDT 



by a decision of the 
evident that frequent 



aofreement 
commissioners in 
intercourse had 



Six made him an advance, for which L. van Ludik was surety. The 
debt was subsequendy transferred to one G. Ornia, who, after 
Rembrandt's bankruptcy, came upon Ludik for payment. In 
October, 1652, Six further concluded a bargain with Rembrandt, by 
virtue of which he became the possessor of a portrait of Saskia, in 
exchange for which he returned to the master two other of his works — 
a Simeon and the grisaille. The Preaching of John the Baptist — on 
condition that Rembrandt should have the option of reclaiming them, 
to a certain date. This agreement was, however, set aside 

bankruptcy in 1658. It is 
been kept up between Six 
and Rembrandt, and it 
was perhaps after some 
business interview with 
the Burgomaster that the 
artist set to work on his 
portrait, which, as we 
learn from a journal be- 
longing to the Six family, 
was painted in 1654. So 
perfect is its condition 
that it miofht have been 
finished yesterday. Stand- 
ing with his head a little 
bent, in a wonderfully 
life - like attitude, Six 
draws on his gloves, as 
if about to go out. He 
wears a black hat, and a 
gray doublet, over which 
is thrown a red cloak 
trimmed with gold lace. The face, which is modelled in planes 
of great breadth, is surrounded by waving masses of fair hair, and 
stands out from a dark background. The handling, in spite of 
its facility, is marvellously decisive. There are no subtleties of 
treatment, but emphasis is given by touches of unerring precision ; 
the chord of colour, simple, yet supremely harmonious, is made 
up of subdued reds touched with gold, and neutral grays. In this 
work (painted probably in a few hours) every stroke told, every 
sweep of the brush was final ; the artist obviously conceived 
and accomplished with equal rapidity and perfection. As Fro- 
mentin happily remarks : " We note the geniality of a mind that 
finds relaxation in a pleasurable task, the assurance of a prac- 
tised hand amusing itself with the tools of its craft, and, above all, a 
fashion of interpreting life only possible to a thinker, accustomed 
to be busied with high problems." ^ Such qualities have drawn 
generation after generation of amateurs to the hospitable house in 

^ Lcs Malt res d'Aufrffois, p. 371. 




CHRIST AND THE SAMARITAN WOMAN. 

Pen drawing, heightened with wash (Stockholm Print Room). 



PORTRAIT OF COPPENOL 



353 



the Heerengracht at Amsterdam, the doors of which are open to all 
lovers of art. There, in his old home, still the home of his 
descendants. Six looks down from the wall, side by side with his 
mother, the Anna Wymer painted by the master in 1641. A com- 
parison of these two works will give students of Rembrandt some idea 
of the progress he had made in the twenty years that divide them. 

Lord Ashburton's little portrait of Coppenol, painted about 
1658, is as remarkable for elaboration and finish as is that of Six 
for breadth and facility. Its exact date is not known, but Mr. 
Middleton-Wake, rightly as we think, assigns the etching which was 
executed from this portrait to 1658. The plate is an exact re- 
production of the pic- 
ture, save that the com- 
position is reversed.^ 
The old writing-master 
is represented sitting 
at a table, his cloak on 
his shoulders. The 
sleeves of a red waist- 
coat show below those 
of his doublet ; he 
wears a flat white 
collar, and, on his head, 
a black skull-cap. His 
hair has become scanty 
and, like his moustache, 
is gray ; but the fresh- 
ness of his complexion, 
and the vivacity of his 
expression, denote a 
healthyand robust tem- 
perament. He holds a sheet of paper in his hands, and looks 
out towards the spectator with an air of triumph, as if challenging 
admiration for the wonders his skilful pen is to trace. The 
combination of breadth with closeness of execution is unique. 
While the full and luminous tones are worthy of Rembrandt at his 
best, the modelling rivals that of Holbein in scrupulous and learned 
precision. The old painter seems to 1)e hurling a defiance at all 
the devotees of minute finish with whom his detractors were fond 
of comparing him to his disadvantage. He accepts the contest on 
their own ground, as if to confound them by showing that with 
all the prodigies of elaboration they produced, to hini alone be- 
longed the secret of that spirit and vigour of expression, that 
breath of life and grandeur, to which none of his rivals could attain. 
The etching made from this little masterpiece is of the same 
dimensions (B. 283), and is no less finished in execution. With 

^ Rembrandt was even careful to pose Coi)iicnol wilh his pen in his loft hand, in 
order that it might appear in the right in the i)rint reversed from the copper. 

A A 




CHRIST ANU THE SAMARITAN WOMAN. 
165S (B. 70). . 



354 



REMBRANDT 



his picture for guide, Rembrandt was able to work leisurely and 
methodically at his plate. ^ Thus, though the tones are rich and 
full, the print has all the transparence and delicacy of a work 
which has been carefully prepared, and accomplished with patience 
and precision. Like the picture, it is unique in its way, and the 
elaborate workmanship attests both the master's desire to please his 
friend and his own undiminished energy. 

A few other plates of this period are of a very different 

character, and are for the 
most part rapid and sum- 
mary in treatment. There 
are only two compositions, 
both of the year 1658, after 
which date we shall find 
no other etchings of this 
class. Jesus and the Sa- 
maritan Woman (B. ']6) 
was a subject the master 
had already attempted 
more than once, and of 
which he had made several 
drawings (notably that in 
the Stockholm Museum) 
besides the etchinof of 
1634 (B. 71). The later 
print is more in the nature 
of a sketch, broad and 
frank in treatment, and 
somewhat hasty. Turning 
towards Christ, the woman 
rests her arms on a bucket, 
which stands on the edge 
of the well, and listens 
respectfully to the words 
of the Teacher, seated on 
a projecting piece of wall 
beside her. In the back- 
ground is a picturesque landscape, with the outline of a distant 
town beyond ; a group of peasants to the left observe the two 
chief actors, and converse amouQ- themselves. In the Allco;orical 
Piece, also dated 1658, the master's intention is somewhat ob- 
scure, and both as regards ensemble and detail the work is 
peculiarly fantastic. In the foreground, at the base of a large 
pedestal, on the upper part of which is a shield with a ducal coronet, 
lies the colossal statue which once crowned the structure. In its 
place, a stork, the national emblem of Holland, stands on his nest 

^ Yes, and the plate with all its perfection has something of the air of a7i accoviplishtc 
translation. The sense of actual sponta7ieity is the charm denied. — F. W. 




YCUNG WDMAN ASI.EF.r. 
Ftn drawing (Heseltinc Collection). 



The Tiri'Qc Coppciio/ {ahoiil /6^^S). //. 2Sj. 
h\usi))ii/c of llic /:/i//iiiii. 



STUDIES FROM THE NUDE 



35! 






in a luminous glory, while a little winged figure hovers in the air 
on either side, blowing a trumpet. A crowd of spectators below 
applaud the manifestation. Mr. Middleton-Wake explains the 
allegory as referring to Turenne's victory over the Spaniards at 
the Battle of Dunes, \\\ 1658, His interpretation seems to us 
somewhat over-subtle, and though the traditional explanation of the 
piece, as representing the demolition of Alva's statue at Antwerp in 
1577, is not absolutely convincing, it is at least more plausible. 
The plate is another instance of Rembrandt's incapacity for allegorical 
composition. The statue, the spectators, and the winged genii 
are of the most vulgar types : and the clumsy bird on the top of 
the pedestal is much more like a goose than a stork. The hasty 
execution in no wise re- 
deems the faults of the 
composition, on which the 
master evidently bestowed 
little labour. 

Three other plates 
dated 165S, the ]Voman 
sitting before a Dutch 
Stove (Q. 197), the Woman 
preparing to dress after 
bathing (B. 199), the 
Woman with her Feet in 
the Water (B. 200), and 
perhaps too the Naked 
W^oman seen from beJii^id 
[La Ndgresse Couchde) 
(B. 205), are merely nude 
female studies, bold and 
brilliant in effect, if some- 
what coarse in execution. 
They are all from the same 
model, probably Hendrick- 
je. The faces are so slightly 

indicated as to afford little clue; but the breast, and the propor- 
tions of the body, are unmistakably those of the Bathsheba in the 
Louvre, whose attitude differs very slightly from that of the Woman 
sitting before a Dutch Stove. W^c recognise Hendrickje again in 
the [npiter and Antiope (B. 203), apparently a reminiscence ot 
Correggio, though there is little of the Italian master's beauty _ol 
form in the sleeping figure, which an old satyr contemplates with 
the air of a connoisseur. In this later work, Rembrandt seenis 
to have determined to justify the violent attacks of his academic 
critics, whose strictures were echoed a few years alter the masters 
death by Andries Pels, a mediocre Dutch writer, in his Poem on 
the Theatre^: "When he attempted to paint a naked woman," he 

1 Gcbruik en Misbruik des Tomels, 16S1, p. 36. 

A A 2 




PEN SKETCH HF.ICHTRNEI) WITH SEI'lA. 

(Seymour- Haden Collection.) 



356 REMBRANDT 

remarks of Rembrandt, " he chose, not the Grecian Venus, but a 
washerwoman or farm-servant .... Such models he reproduced in 
every detail, flabby breasts, distorted hands, even the ridges formed by 
the bodice round the waist, and the marks of the garters about the legs." 
If Rembrandt more than once justified this criticism, it was not, as Pels 
supposes, "from a deliberately adopted heresy .... arising out of 
his inability to compete with Titian, Van Dyck, and Michelan- 
gelo."' The misconception here is two-fold ; Rembrandt had no 
deliberate theory in the matter. In this, as in all things, his sincerity 
was absolute. Neither can it be truly said that he was incapable of 
rendering beauty, and that his " glaring aberrations " were the result 
of his revolt against " authority and tradition." In the matter of studies 
from nature, Rembrandt had no system other than that common to all 
great masters. His observations w^ere based on the facts before him. 
As his patrons fell off, he, who could not exist without work, 
made use of the only models available for those exercises he loved 
and diligently pursued until his death. 

Titus was Rembrandt's model, as well as Hendrickje. As far 
as it is possible to judge through the deep shadow in which the 
contours are veiled, he it was who sat for a picture in the Hermitage, 
painted about 1660 (No. 825 in the Catalogue), which, in general 
effect, harmony, and style of execution, recalls the beautiful portrait 
of Bruyningh in the Cassel Museum. Dr. Bredius further recognises 
Titus in two portraits in the Louvre ; one, the very expressive study 
of a pale, olive-complexioned young man, of aristocratic appearance, 
with an air of dignified melancholy ; the other a broad, sketchy work, 
in the Lacaze collection, remarkable for the vivid frankness of the 
high lights. The likeness between the two, however, seems to us 
very slight, and the sitter in both considerably older than Titus in 
1667 or 1668, the approximate date of the two portraits. 

As for those studies of himself which Rembrandt had laid aside 
during his brief period of popularity, they become more and more 
numerous with advancing age. Two almost similar portraits, one 
in the Uffizi, the other in the Belvedere, were painted about 1658, 
and represent the master nearly full face, in his working dress : 
a cap, and a loose brown tunic, held to the figure by a scarf, into 
which his hands are thrust. Two other portraits of Rembrandt, 
one belonging to Lord Ellesmere, the other to Lady Wallace, are 
marked by the same expression of melancholy. The more austere 
portrait of 1660, in the Louvre, which we reproduce, is perhaps 
even more characteristic. It shows the master at his work, in a 
loose gown of cheap material, and a white night-cap. His face is 
unshaved, his hair has become gray and scanty. Standing by his 
easel, palette and brushes in hand, he studies his model, fixing the 
forms and colours before him on his memory. In that keen, 
searching gaze, we divine the artist, accustomed to note the most 
tugitive shades of expression in a human face, and the infinite 
modifications of light. He has accumulated knowledge and ex- 




Porlrait of RcDibi-aiid! (1660). 

(t.OlVRH.) 



i 



FAMILY ARRANGEMENTS 357 

perience without prejudice to his perfect sincerity. Absorbed in the 
problem before him, and temporarily oblivious of his sufferings, he 
linds calm and refreshment in his task. Once more he tastes the 
delight of creation. Shattered by adversity, his one desire is for 
some quiet corner in which at least he may work. 

His art was, in fact, the sole direction in which he showed him- 
self practical and clear-sighted, and, recognising this, those who loved 
him conspired together to m.ark out his life and protect it, and to 
prevent the imprudences and prodigalities into which he would again 
have drifted if left to himself. They had also found it necessary to 
shelter him in some measure from the importunities of his creditors. 
On December 15, 1660, in the presence of a notary and two witnesses, 
Hendrickje and Titus entered into an agreement, one of the main 
objects of which was to ensure Rembrandt's future comfort, and 
the tranquillity necessary for his work. As all Rembrandt's own 
earnings were at the mercy of his vigilant creditors, Hendrickje 
had devised a plan by which she hoped to free him from their 
power. She and Titus entered into partnership as dealers in 
pictures, engravings, and curiosities, a business she had already 
started some two years before. Each partner agreed to embark 
his whole fortune in the venture, and each was to be part pro- 
prietor of the stock-in-trade, and to make an equal division of profit 
and loss. But, "as it was indispensable that the partners should 
have the help and advice of a third person, and as none was so 
capable of directmg them as Rembrandt," it was further agreed 
that he should live with them, receiving board and lodging in 
return for his services. He was to reserve nothing he might 
possess at that or any future time, and was further to bind him- 
self never to make any claim upon the profits of the partnership. 
In consideration of which, Titus agreed to allow, him 950 florins 
and Hendrickje 800 florins, which sums he promised to return as 
soon as he should earn sufficient by his own work. 

In this combination, which placed the partners on a footing of 
absolute equality, Rembrandt was treated as the child he had shown 
himself to be in money-matters. He had become the ward, for 
whom Titus and Hendrickje undertook to administer the common 
property. It may be supposed that an agreement so obviously 
aimed at the interests of the creditors was not complaisantly 
accepted by them ; they made, in fact, repeated claims and 
demands. It seems unlikely, moreover, that the business can have 
been very lucrative The country was more or less exhausted by 
the war with England , the truce was generally believed to be 
but temporary, and the times were hardly favourable for dealers 
in luxuries. As Dr. Bredius has shown in his interesting study 
on the traffic in works of art during the seventeenth century,^ many 
of the great art-dealers of this period ended their days in bankruptcy 
and poverty. But it is very probable that Titus and Hendrickje 
^ Ainsierdainscli Jaerboekjc, voor Geschiedcnis en Lcttcren, 1891. 



358 



REMBRANDT 



had learnt caution from former disaster, and avoided speculations 
inv^olving large risks, contenting themselves chiefly with the sale 
of Rembrandt's own works, notably his etchings. Although 
Rembrandt's inventory of 1656 was a fairly circumstantial one, we 
find no mention in it of any of the copper plates of his etchings. 
Some, no doubt, had been sold to dealers ; but it is not improbable 
that he kept a good many, either to finish, or re-touch, and that 
these were not included in the sale of 1658. Amateurs were 
beginning to appreciate his etchings ; famous collections of them 
were formed, and the various states often fetched considerable prices, 
which were determined, perhaps, rather by their rarity, than by their 
artistic merit. It is doubtless to this traffic that Houbraken refers, 
in the statement that Titus was in the habit of travelling about 
carrying his father's etchings for sale, a statement the author makes 
the text for a further denunciation of Rembrandt's avarice. We 
may ask with A^osmaer : " What possible disgrace could attach to 
such a commerce ? " The profits of these sales sufficed for the 
maintenance of the little family, and Rembrandt, free from anxiety 
on this score, was once more able to devote himself entirely to his 
art. His powers had reached, if possible, more perfect development 
by means of the numerous disinterested studies of the last two 
years, and he was about to signalise the close of his career by 
new masterpieces. 




THE HOLY WOMEN OX CALVAr?Y. 

Pen drawing (Stockholm Print Room). 



•a^. 



•-^^--^^^i^^^^S^t 












PEN DRAWING OF A LANDSCAPF. 

(Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 



CHAPTER XX 

Rembrandt's retired and laborious life (i66i) — 'saint matthew and the 

angel' 'VENUS and CUPID ' 'THE CONSPIRACY OF CLAUDIUS CIVILIS ' 

PICTURE:S of the civic guilds in HOLLAND— the 'syndics OF THE CLOTH 

HALL ' THE UNITY OF THE LITTLE FAMILY — STUDIES AND PORTRAITS OF THIS 

PERIOD. 







J 


^^^^ 


1 


^P. 


"3 


W^'V 



T 



HE year 1661 is one of the most prolific 
in Rembrandt's career. It was marked 
by the production of one supreme work, 
and of several which are important. This 
fertility bears witness to the energy with 
which he had returned to his labours. He 
established himself this year in a house on the 
Rozengracht, where he remained till 1664. It 
was, at the time, a comparatively unfrequented 
quarter, where the master, no doubt, had been 
able to find a suitable domicile at a reasonable 
cost. Land was cheaj) in this district, and 
immediately opposite Rcml)randt's house, 1 )avid 
Lingelbach of Frankfort, father of the well- 
known painter, Johannes Lingelbach, had laid out one of those pleasure- 
gardens then popular under the name of Labyrinths {Doolhof). 
Lingelbach was an enterprising and industrious person, and had 
already started a Ncio Labyrinth, known as The Orange Tree, in 1636, 
on the Loiersgracht, a neighbouring (juay, where he offered greater 



FMAI.L HEAD OF REMBRANDT 
STOOPING. 



About 1630 (B. s). 



360 



REMBRANDT 



attractions than any of his predecessors had been able to collect. 
Among these were mechanical set pieces, such as Orpheus charming 
the Beasts, surprise fountains, and monumental fountains, such as 
The Samaritan Woman and the Seven Provinces, natural curiosities 
of every kind, strange animals, alive or stuffed, patriotic groups, 
satirical representations, such as the Procession of the Ommega7ig, 
grottoes, flower-beds, and various other spectacles for the attraction of 
visitors, who brought their families to these establishments to see the 

sights, enjoy the music, 
and partake of refresh- 
ments.^ 

Lingelbach opened the 
Labyrinth on the Rozen- 
gracht in February 1648. 
It occupied a considerable 
space, and had involved 
the purchase of two large 
gardens, and several ad- 
joining houses. But the 
amusements of such a 
place were little to Rem- 
brandt's taste, as we know, 
and he was now less in- 
clined than ever for such 
distractions. He had no 
money to spend at sales, 
or in the shops of art- 
dealers, and when he made 
up his mind to leave his 
studio, he generally turned 
his steps towards the 
country, which was easy 
of access from this quarter 
of the town. Here he 
found a variety of excur- 
sions, along the ramparts 
and canals, and in out- 
lying suburbs, dotted here and there with laundries and windmills. 
His sedentary habits, however, were more confirmed than ever, and 
he rarely left the shelter of his roof. The friends who were willing 
to seek him out in the Rozengracht were few, and his work was very 
seldom interrupted. But he had no lack of occupation. 

Among the pictures he painted at this period, the first in order 
is a Circumcision at Althorp, which Smith describes in his Catalogue 

^ See Mr. N. de Roever's interesting article in Otid-Holland (vi. 103-112) on the 
successive Labyrinths laid out at Amsterdam. These pleasure-gardens were the fore- 
runners of the magnificent zoological gardens now established at Amsterdam and 
Antwerp. 




YOUNG WOMAN AT A WINDOW. 

About 1 66s (Berlin Museum). 



••VENUS AND CUPID 



361 



raisonn^ (No. 69) as " an admirably finished study, remarkably brilliant 
and effective . . . dated 1661," while Dr. Bode, who was unable 
to decipher the date, declares it to be a sketch-like composition, 
painted in the bright, high tones, and fluid manner afterwards adopted 
by Rembrandt's pupil, Aert de Gelder. The ceremony takes place 
in a vast building, the light falling full on the seated Virgin, with the 
Infant Jesus in her lap, and on the kneeling High Priest, who wears a 
brilliant yellow mantle. In the background, as in the etching of 1654 








THE FAITHFUL SERVANT. 

Pen drawing (Bonnat Collection). 



{B. 47), a group of spectators lean forward to watch the operation, 
and some cattle in stalls are distinguishable beyond. 

The Saint Mattheiv and the Angel in the Louvre dated 1661, is a 
more elevated composition. The apostle's face, it is true, lacks nobility. 
His features are coarse, his dress poor, and the harmony of the 
brown garment, the gray cap, and the rather strong flesh tints, is 
neither rich nor distinguished. The handling is harsh and abrupt, 
even coarse at times, but here and there we note those subtleties 
of expression peculiar to Rembrandt. The idea — that of divine 
inspiration breathed into a human soul — seems almost impossible 
of concrete realisation, and wholly beyond the resources of painting. 
Yet Rembrandt has succeeded in rendering it with unrivalled clarity 
and eloquence. Seated at his tabic, the old man becomes conscious 



362 REMBRANDT 

ot the presence of the divine messenger, who visits hi in in his 
retreat. The angel draws near, laying his hand gently on the 
apostle's shoulder, and placing his lips to his ear. The saint presses 
his withered hand to his breast, as if in the rapture of divine inspiration. 
He seems to gaze fixedly into space at things unspeakable that rise 
before him ; he sees the events he will presently transcribe at the 
angel's bidding. 

We feel some diffidence in passing from this picture to another 
canvas in the Louvre, the Venus and Cnpid of about the same date, 
which Dr. Bode, rightly as we think, conjectures to be a study of 
Hendrickje with her child, the little Cornelia. The apparent ages 
of the two figures, and the type of the Vemis support his assump- 
tion. But Hendrickje, if Hendrickje it be, has grown stouter ; her 
contours have lost their youthful grace, and the peevish-looking Cupid 
by her side has no more of distinction than his mother. But for 
the wings set awkwardly on his shoulders, it would be hard to divine 
the very unfortunate title of the picture, against which the unmis- 
takably Dutch character of the forms, types and accessories seems 
to enter a vigorous protest. Once more we recognise the master's 
shortcomings as a painter of mythological subjects. But if we set 
aside the legend, with which the characters have evidently no con- 
nection, and take the picture merely as a conception of maternal love, 
it is full of tenderness and charm ; we forget the incongruity of the 
supposed theme, in admiration of the mother's loving expression, the 
gentleness with which she consoles the child, and the deep mutual 
affection of the pair. The Young Woman at the Windoiu in the 
Berlin Gallery (No. 828 b.), must have been painted at about 
the same period. Dr. Bode, it is true, hesitates to accept this 
as a portrait of Hendrickje such as Rembrandt painted her in the 
Portrait of the Salon Carr^. But the resemblance between the 
Berlin model and the Venus seems to us very striking, and their 
ao-es appear to be the same. The Young Woman at the IVindoiu 
is perhaps, if anything, a trifle younger. Hendrickje has become 
stouter, and broader ; the double chin is now apparent, but she 
is stiir fresh and attractive. Her somewhat fanciful costume is very 
tasteful ; she wears a red mantle trimmed with fur over a white 
under-dress, a cap striped with broad bands of gold, pearl earrings 
and bracelets, and a gold ring hanging by a black ribbon at her 
breast. But the easy negligence of the pose, and the ildw chemisette 
which partly reveals the neck and bosom, seem to mark the sitter 
as one who was on terms of close intimacy with the master. 
The bold, free touch gives us little clue as to the date of execution. 
At this period Rembrandt's handling varies so perpetually that it 
is impossible to draw anything but approximate conclusions from the 
character of his work, which in one picture is rough, hasty and 
impulsive, in another sedate and careful, according to his changing 
mood. 

Neglected as he now was, the master still retained a few constant 




Saint Matlhciyj aiui the Augci (1661 ). 

(louvre.) 



REMBRANDT IN RETIREMENT 363 

friends. Ot this we find evidences in two very important commissions 
of this period. One of these works, or rather a fragment of the 
original, is in the Stockholm Museum. The subject long exercised 
the sagacity of critics, and has recently been determined by the 
discovery of a document in which reference is made to it. The scene 
as represented in the mutilated picture is certainly somewhat obscure. 
Round a table lighted by a blazing torch are grouped ten life-size 
figures. To the left, facing the spectator, sits their chieftain, to whom 
they appear to be swearing obedience, brandishing aloft their swords 
and drinking-cups. The leader, who wears a sort of high tiara, re- 
sponds by holding up his own blade. He is a man of imposincr 
appearance and grave demeanour, apparently blind of one eye. 
Both he and his companions wear rich dresses, which are, however, 
not sufficiently distinctive to give any hint as to the episode represented. 
Who are these warriors, and for what mysterious purpose are 
they assembled ? Various solutions have been proposed from time 
to time, but none of a very convincing character. Noting that the 
leader is represented as one-eyed, some writers supposed him to 
be John Ziska. But we know how rarely Rembrandt sought 
inspiration in modern history, and it was difficult to believe that 
he could have chosen a theme so fantastic, and so alien to the 
artistic conceptions of himself and his compatriots. This hypothesis 
was accordingly abandoned, and a solution was sought for in the 
Scriptures, Rembrandt's perennial source of inspiration. It came 
to be very generally accepted that the theme was taken from the 
Book of the Maccabees, and that the artist intended to represent 
either Mattathias and his sons swearing to defend their faith 
against the persecutors, or the meeting of Judas Maccaba^us and 
his brothers before their encounter with the troops of Antiochus. 
In later times, Professor K, Madsen suggested T/ie Foimdino of 
the Kingdom of Sweden by Odin} The wide diversity of these 
opinions shows their inconclusiveness. On a personal examination 
of the work, though I could arrive at no solution which satisfied 
me as to the subject, I was persuaded that the canvas had been 
mutilated much after the same fashion as the Night Watch, thou^-h 
I little imagined to what an extent. It is now known that the Stock- 
holm picture, large as it is — it measures rather over six by ten feet — is 
only a fragment, equal in surface to about a quarter of the on'oinal. 
Our facsimile of a drawing in the Munich Print Room will give some 
idea of the primitive work and its dimensions. This drawing, to 
which attention has already been drawn in the Stockholm Catalooue, 
though it gives the composition in its entirety, affords no clue as 
to the subject. It was reserved for Mr. de Roever to solve the 
much discussed problem, which he does in a recent number of the 
valuable journal of which he is joint-editor. - 

^ Stiidier fra Sweri^:;;, by K. Madsen. i vol. 8vo. Copenhagen. 1892. 

- Een Rembrandt op^ t Stadhuis ; Oud-Holland, ix. p. 296. See also an article in the 
Nederlandsche Spectator, April, 1892, in whicli the question is adniiiahiy sunmied up by 
Mr. Cornelis Hofstede dc Grote. 



364 



REMBRANDT 



The learned archivist had been struck by a passage in a 
Description of Amsterdam, published by Melchior Fokkens in 1662, 
in which mention is made of a picture in one of the angles of the great 
o-allery in the Town Hall, now the Royal Palace, representing The Mid- 
night Banquet of Claudius Civihs, at which he persuaded the Batavians 
to throzu off the Roman Yoke. " The subject of this picture," adds 
Fokkens, "was one Rembrandt had treated." We know further, 
from a document already referred to in connection with the advance 
made by Jan Six to Rembrandt, that Lodewyk van Ludik, 
Rembrandt's security, received from the artist, in August, 1662, a 
deed, by which it was agreed that the half of Rembrandt's 
earnings' up to January i, 1663, should be devoted to paying off 



'1^ 




^^^^^^^P^^^^^^HB^Ta . 


1 ^^K»v ^: \. 






^-'■W"' 





THE CONSPIRACY OK CLAUDU'S CIVILIS. 

1C66 (Stockholm Museum). 



the loss of 1,082 florins incurred by Lodewyk through this transaction. 
It further provided that Van Ludik should be entitled to a 
quarter of the price paid to Rembrandt " for a picture painted for 
the Town Hall." Thanks to M. de Roever's collation of these 
statements, and to the evidence afforded by the Munich drawing, 
it is now possible to reconstruct the original composition, and to 
determine its subject. In the place indicated by Fokkens in the 
great gallery of the Palace is still to be seen an immense picture 
hanging very high up, in a dark corner, which might perhaps for 
a moment be mistaken for the work of Rembrandt. But the test 
of the electric light has revealed the fact that this mediocre and 
coarsely executed picture was substituted for that of Rembrandt, 
as indeed Zesen informs us in his Description of A?nsterda7n 



"THE CONSPIRACY OF CLAUDIUS CIVILIS" 



365 



(1663). No doubt Rembrandt, bearing in .mind the destination of 
his canvas, had also treated his subject in a free and decorative 
style, the effect of which was unpleasant at close quarters. As it 
did not find favour with the magistrates, it seems not unlikely 






■>^ 




STUDY FOR THE CONSPIRACY OF CLAUDIUS CIVILIS. 

(Facsimile of a drawing in the Munich Print Room.) 



that they ventured on certain strictures which Rembrandt ignored, 
and that the result was the rejection of his picture. It then became 
a question how to dispose of this huge canvas, some sixty-five 
leet square, by far the largest ever covered by the master. In its 
original dimensions it was hopeless to offer it to a private purchaser, 
and this consideration, no doubt, led to the paring down ot the 



366 REMBRANDT 

canvas to the central group, which, after various vicissitudes, has 
found a resting-place in the Stockholm Gallery/ 

As we learn from the accounts of the Amsterdam Treasury, 
Flinck was the person oricrinally entrusted with the decoration of 
this gallery in the Town Hall, by virtue of a contract approved on 
November 28, 1659." The choice of The Conspiracy of Claudius 
Civilis as one of the episodes to be treated is readily explained by 
the part the hero had played in the Batavian revolt, and by the 
analogies the poets of the day, Vondel among others, had drawn 
between the early struggle against the Roman dominion, and that 
the Princes of Orange had brought to a triumphant issue against 
the Spaniards. But Flinck's labours having been interrupted 
by his death on February 22, 1660, the commission for the picture 
of Claudius Civilis was passed on to Rembrandt. It is not unlikely 
that the influence of his early patron, Dr. Tulp, who held the 
office of municipal treasurer from 1658 to 1659, was exercised in his 
behalf. 

The earlier designation of the work as The Conspiracy of John 
Ziska was, as we have seen, to some extent justified by the principal 
figure, for Ziska was blind of one eye, like Civilis, who, according to 
Tacitus, gloried in a defect he shared with Hannibal, another heroic 
enemy of Rome. Rembrandt adheres very closely to the historian's 
text. In the Munich drawing the table of the midnight banquet is 
raised on a sort of dais under a portico, beyond which we dimly dis- 
cern the branches of trees, and the battlements of a castle. The 
principal native chiefs and nobles who have rallied round Civilis are 
grouped about the table, and swear with him to throw off the yoke 
of their oppressors. The broad execution of the Stockholm picture, 
which is yet sufficiently careful in the high lights, harmonises with 
the mysterious nature of the subject, and a very powerful effect is 
won by the simplest means. We recognise the hand of the master, 
and the exquisite delicacy of his harmonies, in the varied play of 
reds and yellows, with which the cunningly distributed blues and 
greens are so happily contrasted. The portion to the right especially 
is a miracle of brilliance. The man with long white hair in a cymar 
of pale golden tissue, and the four figures beside him, make up a 
colour passage of inimitable grace and distinction. 

We may find some solace for our regrets at the mutilations 
undergone by such works as the Night Watch and the Conspiracy 
of Claudius Civilis, in the perfect preservation of another canvas 
of this period. Commissioned by the Guild of Drapers, or Cloth- 
workers, to paint a portrait group of their Syndics lor the Hall of 
the Corporation, Rembrandt in 1661 delivered to them the great 

^ Of \\% provenance nothing is known but that, in 179S, it was bequeathed to the Fine 
Arts Academy at Stockhohii by a certain Dame Peill, nde Grill, whose husband, like 
herself, was of Dutch origin. It was removed to the Museum in 1864. 

- The scheme of decoration comprised twelve pictures to be pauited in six years, at 
1,000 florins each. See AinsteFs Oud/ieid, II. p. 143. 



PICTURES OF THE INDUSTRIAL GUILD 367 

picture which formerly hung in the Chamber of the Controllers and 
Gaugers of Cloth, at the Staalhof, and has now been removed to 
the Ryksmuseum. As in earlier days at Florence, the wool industry 
held an important place in the national commerce of Holland, and 
had greatly contributed to the development of public prosperity. 
At Leyden, where the Guild was a large and important company, 
we know that the Drapers decorated their Hall with pictures by 
Isaac van Swanenburch, representing the various processes of 
cloth-making. At Amsterdam, they formed a no less conspicuous 
body, and an admirable work, also in the Ryksmuseum, painted by 
Aert Petersen in 1599, has immortalised the Six Syndics of the 
Cloth Hall of that date. On this brilliant and perfectly preserved 
panel, the arrangement of the six figures has, it is true, a somewhat 
accidental appearance, and evidently cost the artist little trouble. 
Rut the frankly modelled heads have a startling energy and 
individuality, notably that of the central figure, a middle-aged man 
with crrizzled hair, and a face of remarkable intellio^ence and decision. 
The following inscription on the panel sums up in few words the 
duties of the administration : " Conform to your vows in all matters 
clearly within their jurisdiction ; live honestly ; be not influenced 
in your judgments by favour, hatred, or personal interest." Such 
a programme of loyalty and strict justice was the foundation of 
Dutch commercial greatness. The model traders of Holland com- 
bined with their perfect integrity a spirit of enterprise which led 
them to seek distant markets for their produce, and a tenacity which 
ensured the success of the hazardous expeditions they promoted. 
They brought the qualities they had acquired in the exercise ot 
their calling to bear upon their management of public business, 
and it was not unusual for the most prominent among them, who 
had proved their capacity in the administration, of their various 
guilds, to be elected councillors and burgomasters by their fellow- 
citizens, or to undertake the management of those charitable institu- 
tions which abounded in all the Dutch towns. As was the custom 
among the military guilds, which gradually declined as the civic cor- 
porations increased in importance, it became a practice among the 
latter to decorate their halls with the portraits of their dignitaries. 
Whatever the character of the Company, the manner of representa- 
tion differed little in these portraits. Save in the case of the 
Anatomy Lessons, painted for the guilds of Physicians and Surgeons, 
or some few awkwardly rendered episodes inspired by the distribu- 
tion of alms to the aged and the orphaned, the painters ot these 
compositions contented themselves with arranging their patrons round 
a table, making no attempt to characterise them by any sort ot 
accessory. The balancing of accounts, an operation common to all 
the Companies, had become a favourite motive in such groups. The 
administrators would appear seated at a table, covered with a cloth, 
busily verifying their accounts, and the contents of their cash-boxes, 
and explaining, with gestures more or less expressive, that all was 



368 



REMBRANDT 



in order, and that they had faithfully fulfilled their trust. In the 
backo-round, standing apart with uncovered heads, some subordinates 
awaited their pleasure, or aided them in their task. Such was 
the trite theme, which was adapted to each of the societies in 
turn, and to which all the painters of corporation groups con- 
formed with more or less exactitude. The only modifications of 
treatment arose from the varying degrees of talent in the ex- 
ecutants. But in all we find that same spirit of conscientious 
exactitude and absolute sincerity which had brought wealth to their 

models, and was the first 
foundation of Dutch 
greatness alike in com- 
merce and in art. 

Such a spirit had al- 
ready manifested itself in 
the Regents of the Asy- 
hwi for the Aged, by 
Cornelis van de Voort, 
and in the pictures of 
Werner van Valckert, an 
artist who had won a 
well-deserved reputation 
by his studies of life in 
the Municipal Orphan- 
age, and who painted a 
portrait-group of The 
Four Syndics of the Mer- 
cers Guild, in 1622. In 
the hands of Thomas de 
Keyser and Nicolaes 
Elias the genre had 
reached its full develop- 
ment. Proclaimed their 
painter in ordinary by the 
leading citizens of Am- 
sterdam, Elias was com- 
missioned in 1626 to paint \\\^ Regents of the Guild of Wine Merchants, 
and in 1628 produced his fine work. The Regents of the Spinhuis. Sant- 
voort in his turn — though his talents lay chiefly in the direction of female 
portraiture — displayed his powers very creditably in his Four Regents of 
the Seige Hall of 1643, a serious and well-considered work, finely 
modelled, and very characteristically treated. But to Haarlem belongs 
the honour of having produced the finest corporation picture executed 
before Rembrandt's masterpiece. Too much stress has perhaps been 
laid on the manifestation of his influence in Frans Hals' Regents 
of the Hospital of St. Elizabeth, painted in 1641. The Haarlem 
master may, we think, justly lay claim to the full glory of his achieve- 
ments. As if grateful in anticipation for the succour he was afterwards 




WOMAN AT A WINDOW. 

Pen drawing washed with Sepia (Heseltine Collection). 



PICTURES OF THE CIVIC GUILDS 



369 



to receive from his models, Hals here combines with the mai^nificent 
technique usual in his works, a precision and dignity to which he had 
never before attained. 

At this period, Dutch art had reached its apogee, and corpora- 
tion pictures were beginning to show symptoms of decline. The 
unquestionable talent of Ferdinand Bol, one of Reml^randt's best 
pupils, had not preserved him from a certain mannerism in his 
Regents of the Asylum for the Aged, dated 1657.^ The six persons 
are seated in the usual manner round a table. The heads are 
somewhat round and soft in the modelling, and have little of the 
strong individuality that impresses us in the w'orks of Bol's pre- 




THE PRINSENGKACHT AND THE WliSTEKKEKK. 

(Near the Rozengracht, Rembrandt's later hoine.) 
(Drawing by Boudier, aftur a photograph.) 



decessors. The composition is lacking in simplicity, and the painter's 
anxiety to give variety to the attitudes is somewhat distractingly 
obvious. Each figure seems to claim exclusive attention, and this 
neglect of artistic subordination injures the unity of the com- 
position, though it was indeed one of the main causes of Bol's success, 
for each model was flattered by the importance of his own figure in 
the group. 

Such were the most important productions in this gonr, when 
Rembrandt was commissioned to paint his group of Syndics. It is not 
unlikely that Van de Cappelle had used his influence on the master's 
behalf. He was on terms of friendship with Rembrandt at this period, 
and had dealings with most of the principal Drapers, in connection with 

^ He was afterwards himself a Regent of the institution. 



B B 



370 REMBRANDT 

his dye-works. It is therefore possible that he recommended the 
master to their patronage. On this occasion Rembrandt made no 
attempt to vary traditional treatment by picturesque episode, or novel 
method of illumination, as in the case of the Night VVatch. As Dr. 
Bredius remarks : " He recognised, no doubt, that such experi- 
ments were far from grateful to his patrons, or it may be that 
they themselves made certain stipulations which left him no choice 
in the matter."^ Be this as it may, Rembrandt accepted the 
convention of his predecessors in all its simplicity. The five 
dignitaries of the Corporation are ranged round the inevitable 
table, prosaically occupied in the verification of their accounts. 
They are all dressed in black costumes, with flat white collars, 
and broad-brimmed black hats. Behind them, and somewhat in 
the shadow, as behts his office, a servant, also in black, awaits 
their orders with uncovered head. The table-cloth is of a rich 
scarlet ; a wainscot of yellowish brown wood, with simple mouldings, 
forms the background for the heads. No accessories, no variation in 
the costumes ; an equally diffused light, falling from the left on the 
faces, which are those of men of mature years, some verging on old 
age. With such modest materials Rembrandt produced his masterpiece. 
At the first glance, we are fascinated by the extraordinary reality 
of the scene, by the commanding presence and intense vitality of the 
models. They are simply honest citizens discussing the details of 
their calling ; but there is an air of dignity on the manly faces that 
compels respect. In these men, to whom their comrades have en- 
trusted the direction of their affairs, we recognise the marks of clean 
and upright living, the treasures of moral and physical health amassed 
by a robust and wholesome race. The eyes look out frankly from 
the canvas : the lips seem formed for the utterance of wise and 
sincere words. Such is the work, but, contemplating it, the student 
finds it difficult to analyse the secret of its greatness, so artfully is its 
art concealed. Unfettered by the limitations imposed on him, the 
master's genius finds its opportunity in the arrangement of the 
figures, and their spacing on the canvas, in the slight inflection of 
the line of faces, in the unstudied variety of gesture and attitude, 
in the rhythm and balance of the whole. An examination of the 
various details confirms our admiration. We note the solid structure 
of the heads and figures, the absolute truth of the values, the 
individual and expressive quality of each head, and their unity 
one with another. Passing from the drawing to the colour, our 
enthusiasm is raised by the harmony of intense velvety blacks and 
warm whites with brilliant carnations, which seem to have been 
kneaded, as it were, with sunshine ; by the shadows which bring 
the forms into relief by an unerring perception of their surfaces and 
textures ; and, finally, by the general harmony, the extraordinary 
vivacity of which can only be appreciated by comparing it with the 
surrounding canvases. 

^ Les Chefs-iToeuvre du Musie d' Amsterdam^ p. 26. 



s 



"^ - 



^N 









J 


Ijil V 



FAMILY LIFE 



371 



The execution is no less amazing in its sustained breadth and 
sobriety. As Fromentin justly observes : " The vivid quality of 
the light is so illusory that it is difficult to conceive of it as 
artificial." " So perfect is the balance of parts," he adds, " that 
the general impression would be that of sobriety and reticence, 
were it not for the undercurrent of nerves, of flame, of impa- 
tience, we divine beneath the outwardly calm maturity of the 
master." No criticism could be more admirable, save for the 
terms " nerves " and " impatience," which seem to me to be 
peculiarly inappropriate. I appeal to all students of this great work, 
in which there is not the slightest trace o( precipitation or negli- 
gence, in which the " fiame " is the steady fire of an inspiration 
perfectly under control. 

That phase of Rembrandt's development in which he had 
yielded an almost slavish obedience to Nature had long passed away ; 
but his assurance has none of the bravura of a virtuoso making a 
display of his proficiency. His is the strength that possesses its 
soul in patience, and attains its end without haste or hesitation. 
Never before had he achieved such perfection ; never again was 
he to repeat the triumph of that supreme moment when all his 
natural gifts joined forces with the vast experiences of a life 
devoted to his art, in such a crowning manifestation of his 
genius. Brilliant and poetical, his masterpiece was at the same 
time absolutely correct and unexceptionable. Criticism, which still 
wrangles over the Night Watch, is unanimous in admiration of 
the Syndics. In it the colourist and the draughtsman, the simple 
and the subtle, the realist and the idealist, alike recognise one of 
the masterpieces of painting. 

We know not how the work was received. But the absence of 
any evidence to the contrary seems to prove that it made no great 
impression on Rembrandt's contemporaries. Its virile art was little 
suited to the taste of the day ; an enamelled smoothness of surface, 
and elaborate minuteness of treatment alone found favour. The 
master's broad and liberal manner must have seemed a direct 
challenge to his contemporaries. At Rembrandt's age, and in the 
conditions under which he was living, it was impossible that he should 
long sustain the high level of excellence he had reached in the 
Syndics. Proud and independent as he had remained in his poverty, 
he cared little for popular judgment. His life became more and 
more retired. In the district where he was, now estal)lished, his 
patient industry and the decorum of his household had gradually 
won the sympathy of those about him. Hendrickje's affectionate 
solicitude for Titus, no less than for Cornelia, gave colour to the 
assumption that both were her children ; she herself passed for 
Rembrandt's lawful wife. In the early days of their liaison, that 
liaison had caused scandal. In the inventory of Clement de jonghc's 
effects, dated February 11, 1679, the etchings in his possession at 
the time of his death were — as has been said before — catalogued 

r. B 2 



372 



REMBRANDT 



under the titles by which they were then commonly known. One 
of these appears as No. 47, Rembrandf s Concubine. It was probably 
one of those studies of naked women already described, of which 
the master produced yet another example in 1661, the Woman with 
the Arrow (B. 202), a more carefully executed plate than the earlier 
essays. The preliminary sketch, a pen drawing washed with sepia, is 
in the British Museum. Hendrickje was, no doubt, again his model, 
for the type is certainly the same as that in the etchings of 1658. But 
the simple and regular life led by Rembrandt and his mistress disarmed 
suspicion as to the legitimacy of their connexion, and a document 
recently discovered by Dr. Bredius offers convincing proof that in 
their new home they were unquestioningly accepted as man and wife. 




JACOB S BLESSING. 

Pen drawing (Stockholm Print Room). 



The proces-verbal of an inquiry held October 27, i66t, into some 
disturbances caused by a drunken man in the neighbourhood, mentions 
Hendrickje, "lawful wife of Rembrandt the painter,"^ as one of the 
witnesses. Unhappily, her health began to fail at about this period. 
Some weeks before, on August 7, 1661, believing herself to be in 
imminent danger, she had sent for a notary, though the day was a 
Sunday, and had made known her last wishes. Her will gives final 
evidence of that affection and harmony which had united the famih-. 
Hendrickje made her daughter her heiress ; but in the event of 
Cornelia's death, provided that her inheritance should pass to her 
half-brother, Titus. Rembrandt was appointed her guardian, and 
was further given a life-interest in the property, should he survive 
Cornelia. The document above referred to shows that Hendrickje 

^ Huysvroutu van S. Rejubrant ran Reyn fy'nsc/ulder ; as on all other occasions, she 
attests the statement with a cross, which Titus witnessed and confirmed- 



THE MASTER'S INTIMATES AT THIS PERIOD 



373 



had recovered, to some extent, by October 27. But her days were 
then numbered, and although the exact date of her death is unknown, 
it probably took place before 1664. In the interval of her com- 
panionship that remained to him, however, Rembrandt once more 
enjoyed a certain measure of peace and happiness in the modest 
home on the Rozengracht. He may even have again tasted the 
joys of collecting on a small scale, either for himself, or for Titus 
and Hendrickje, for he seems to have had certain drawings by 




ELIJAH IN THE DESERT. 

Pen drawing (Berlin Print Room). 



famous masters in his possession. In an unpublished letter, written 
by Constantine Huygens to his brother Christian in 1663, he begs 
him to study some drawings by Carraccio in Jabach's possession, 
"so as to be able to determine whether the one belonging to 
Rembrandt at Amsterdam be a copy ; which, however, he cannot 
believe, on account of the boldness of the touch." ^ Although he 
lived thus in solitude, Rembrandt was not absolutely forgotten, and 
a few friends still occasionally sought him out in his retreat. A 
precious album, now the property of the widowed Madame Kncp- 



1 r 



Communicated by Dr. Bredius. 



374 REMBRANDT 

pelhout, records their names. The collection was formed by one 
Jacob Heyblock, a writer and professor of some repute, who was 
for a time a teacher of Latin at Leyden, and finally settled at Am- 
sterdam, where he was on terms of friendship with most of his 
distino;-uished contemporaries, such as Vossius, Heinsius, Vondel, 
Voetius, Cats, Huygens, &c. Side by side with their names 
in this album, we find those of the faithful few who had been 
constant to the master in his misfortunes. First among them are 
his pupils. Govert Flinck and Gerbrandt van den Eeckhout, the 
latter represented by a somewhat mediocre composition of JMerctiry 
and Argus ; then his fervid admirer, J. van de Cappelle, who con- 
tributes a pretty drawing- of golf-players, dated 1654 ; J. de Decker, 
an adherent of Rembrandt to the end ; and the worthy Coppenol, 
who in 1658 transcribed two sets of verses in praise of calligraphy, 
in his most finished style. In 1661 Rembrandt takes his place 
bravely in this distinguished company, with a sketch of Simeon, 
heightened with Chinese white and bistre, in which he delicately 
expresses the emotion of the old man, as he takes in his arms the 
Infant Jesus, whom Mary and Joseph contemplate with reverent 
tenderness. 

The year 1661 is among the most productive in Rembrandt's 
career. Together with the various works we have enumerated, as 
preceding the masterpiece that eclipsed them all, he painted a number 
of studies and portraits. Some of these are dated ; others we refer 
to this period on internal evidences. The most important is perhaps 
the Praying Pilgrim, signed and dated 1661, which was recently 
bought by M, Sedelmeyer, in England, and has since passed into 
the Weber Collection at Hamburg. The work is of the highest 
quality, the handling broad, nervous, and superbly expressive. The 
life-size bust is in profile. The pilgrim wears a mantle of yellowish 
gray, to which is fastened the symbolic scallop-shell ; his staft" and 
hat lie beside him. Standing, with folded hands, he prays fervently. 
The light strikes full on his bony hands and illumines a pallid 
face with angular features, a small pointed beard, and luxuriant 
hair. The simple harmony of the picture first claims our attention, 
and we linger to admire the impressive beauty of the head, the fire 
and fervour of the expression, and the unity of intention in face and 
attitude. We may next refer to the portrait formerly in Lord Lans- 
downe's collection, which was bought by Lord Iveagh in 1889, a 
sombre work, somewhat indecisive in the modelling, notwithstanding 
its intense shadows. It represents a man still young, in a black 
dress and high black hat. In Lord Wimborne's portrait at Canford 
Manor, the model, whose face is relieved against a curtain of dull 
crimson, is a man of some forty years old, seated before a table 
with a red cloth. He wears a pointed hat, which casts its 
shadow over part of his face. The head is very powerfully 
modelled, and the brilliance of the carnations and breadth of the 
treatment may compare not unworthily with like qualities in the 




A Pi/i::riiii Prayiiii:; { i(^6i }. 

(vVEIlliK COLLECTION, HAMbURC) 



i 



PORTRAITS OF THIS PERIOD 375 

Syndics. The portrait of a man of about the same age in the Her- 
mitage was probably painted in the same year. His refined and 
somewhat unhealthy face is framed in an abundant setting of red- 
dish hair and beard. He wears a brown cap, a yellowish doublet, and 
a cloak of dull violet. The dark background brings out the firm 
modelling of the visage, with its somewhat melancholy expression, and 
compressed lips. The strong individuality of the sitter is sym- 
pathetically suggested. On close examination, the brushing seems 
somewhat coarse, and the colour exaocrerated. But this excess of 
emphasis is tempered by distance, and gives a singular vigour to 
the effect. 

Another male portrait, lent by Lord Ashburton to the Winter 
Exhibition of 1890, is signed and dated 1661. It represents a man 
of florid complexion, with very piercing eyes ; he wears a black dress, 
and a broad-brimmed black hat, which throws a deep shadow on 
his forehead. We need not concern ourselves with the French 
inscription at the top of the panel : Poi^trait of Janscniiis, the father 
of a numerous family, zuho died in 1638, aged fifty-three years. 
It was added in the days when the value of a picture was supposed 
to be greatly enhanced by an attractive title. Jansenius, judginor 
by his acknowledged portraits, had nothing to do with this, which 
is evidently painted from life. The date 1661, which I myself 
was not able to discover,^ seems to me a suspicious one, and 
hardly agrees with the character of the execution. The elaborate 
finish of this work, its sedate and somewhat fluid handling, its 
sparing impasto, are so many evidences to us, as to Dr. Bredius,^ 
of earlier origin. It has more the appearance of a work of 
1645 — 1648. The best and most important picture of this class 
produced by the master at the period is the large portrait signed 
and dated 1661, belonging to Mr. Boughton- Knight, which, on 
the absurd system so often alluded to, is called Rembrandt'' s Cook ! 
Knowing what we do of Rembrandt's frugal habits, it is curious 
to find him credited with the possession of a chef ! The so-called 
cook is a middle-aged man of an open, pleasant countenance, with 
closely cropped hair. He faces the spectator, wearing a greenish 
gray dress, opening over a white chemisette, and a brown cloak. 
Some books lie by his side, and in his right hand he holds the 
small knife which gave rise to the title of his portrait. What the 
true function of this instrument may be, we are no more able 
to suggest than Dr. Bode. He rests his chin on his other hand, 
and seems to be reflecting deeply. He was perhaps some savant, 
perhaps one of those doctors whose society Rembrandt affected, 

1 No doubt on account of the glass, a protection now very generally adopted for 
valuable pictures in England. I )r. Bode's catalogue, and the catalogue of the exhibition, 
both give the date 1661. 

'^ Bredius : '•^ Old Masters in^tlic Royal Academy'' ^ Nederlandsc/ie S/Ctiaioy. 1890, 
No. I-;. 



376 REMBRANDT 

certainly one of his friends. Whoever he may have been, he had 
every reason to be satisfied with his portrait. The powerful effect 
of the sober intonations, the masterly freedom of the touch, the 
brilliance of the light on face and hands, are among the many 
admirable qualities of this work. 

Together with these portraits of friends or patrons, we find 
several of those studies of himself by which the master has 
marked the successive stages of his laborious career. In one 
of these, a bust portrait in Sir John Neeld's collection at Grit- 
tleton House, a work somewhat below the master's level in ex- 
pressive quality, and over-black in the shadows, he wears a brown 
costume and a pale violet cap striped with red. Another, which 
belongs to Lord Kinnaird, a more luminous and interesting study, 
is one of those harmonies in brown tones relieved by reds and 
yellows, with which Rembrandt loved to accentuate the brilliance 
of his carnations. As in the Louvre picture, his head is swathed 
in a white and yellow turban ; but instead of palette and brushes, he 
holds a book in his hand, and looks up from the page at the spectator. 
His expression is calm. The bitterest of his trials were past, and 
though his position was still a precarious one, he seems to have 
recovered a certain measure of hope. 

In spite of the numerous evidences of Rembrandt's activity 
throughout the year 1661, the legend of his sojourn in England 
at this period has been revived of late, on the evidence of a 
document to which Dr. Bredius calls my attention. In the 
manuscript of Vertue's diaries, dated 1 713, in the British Museum' 
the following note occurs : " Rembrant van Rhine was in Enofland, 
livd at Hull in Yorkshire about sixteen or eighteen months, where 
he painted several gentlemen and seafaring men's pictures. One 
of them is in the possession of Mr. Dahl, a sea-captain, with the 
gentleman's name, Rembrant's name, and York, and the year 
1 66 1. Reported by old Larroon who in his youth knew Rembrant 
at York. — Christian," " We may ask how it was possible that 
Laroon, who was born at the Hague in 1653, could have met 
Rembrandt in Yorkshire in 1661. Laroon may have come to Eng- 
land at an early age; but in 1661 he was only eight years old. 
On the other hand, Rembrandt's presence in Amsterdam in 1661 
is attested by many important works, and by official documents. 
It was the year in which he settled on the Rozengracht, the year 
in which Hendrickje made a will in his favour, the year of the 
report already quoted, in which she is described as his "lawful wife." 
Besides the evidence of the drawing in J. Hey block's album, we have 

1 Add. MSS. 21,111. f. 8. (1713). 

2 l7t the transcript of this iwluvie {Add. MSS. 23,068) there are negatives in Vertue's 
7vriti»g against the statements as to the name., place, and date in the last sentence. The 
' Christian ' who appears to have given Vertue this information was Charles CJiristian 
I\eiscn, the seai-engravcr. — /''. IV» 



ALLEGED RESIDENCE IN ENGLAND 



377 



that of such important pictures as the Saint Matthew luith the Anoel 
in the Louvre, Mr. Weber's Pilgrim, the masterpiece of the Syndics, 
and the huge Claudius Civilis. Is it crcdiljle that the master can 
further have found time for a visit to England ? Up to the present 
date, none of the portraits he is supposed to have painted at Hull have 
come to light. Until some fresh evidence is offered, we must reject 
the tradition. 




"'^i'^^.A 



■^..., 









^WJ^.fPK. 



% ii 



'''- --.i^i^**«iws.';;iL^'S^V'- 



HEN SKETCn OK A LANUSCAI'E. 

(Duke of Devonshire's CoUectioii.) 




SKEICII OF A LANDSCAPE, HEIGHTENED WITH SEPIA. 

(Duke of Devonshire's Collection.) 



CHAPTER XXI 



THE DEATH OF HENDRICKJE — THE PROBABLE FAILURE OF REMBRANDT S HEALTH 

AND SIGHT — THE ' LUCRETIA ' AND THE 'JEWISH BRIDE ' AERT DE GELDER AND 

HIS WORKS — THE ' LE PECQ REMBRANDT ' — PORTRAIT OF JEREMIAS DE DECKER 

THE ' FAMILY GROUP ' IN THE BRUNSWICK GALLERY THE ' FLAGELLATION ' AT 

DARMSTADT THE ' RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON ' REMBRANDT's LAST 

PORTRAITS — THE TRIALS OF HIS CLOSING YEARS — HIS DEATH. 




T 



HE term of tranquil indus- 
try enjoyed just now \vas 
not of long duration. 
Sorrow after sorrow, each more 
cruel than the last, darkened the 
last years of Rembrandt's life. 
It seems probable that he lost 
Hendrickje before 1664. The 
death of that faithful friend un- 
doubtedly preceded his own, for 
after the year 1661 she disap- 
pears from the master's ceuvre, 
and no mention of her occurs in 
:tny of the documents relating to 
Rembrandt or his children. She 
was probably buried in the Wester 
Kerk ; but as there is no entry of 
such burial in the registers of this 
church from 1664 to 1670, nor in any of the other registers of Am- 
sterdam churches from 1661 to 1670, it may be that the sale of 
Rembrandt's family vault in the Oude Kerk on October 27, 1662, 
coincided with Hendrickje's death. After his change of domicile 



AN OLD WOMAN IN A BLACK VEIL. 

1631 (B. 355). 



MODIFICATIONS IN HIS STYLE 379 

the vault was useless to the master, and, in his impoverished state, 
he was forced on purchasing another to give it up. 

By the death of Hendrickje, Rembrandt was left more defenceless 
than ever against the anxieties to which he was exposed. His 
position had long been somewhat of an anomaly, complicated as it was 
by the various family arrangements to which he had been a party. 
Hendrickje's will, her partnership with Titus, the prolonged liquida- 
tion consequent on the bankruptcy, all these afforded Rembrandt's 
creditors pretexts for intervening in his affairs, of which they were 
not slow to avail themselves, hoping on each occasion to recover some 
part of their property. 

Overwhelmed at last by this concatenation of miseries, the old 
painter seems to have given way for a time to a very natural depres- 
sion. His health, and probably his sight, were beginning to fail. If 
we consider his age, his many troubles, the sedentary life he had led, 
we shall not be surprised to find that a constitution naturally robust was 
greatly impaired. The body to which he had been such a harsh task- 
master at last began to resent his ill-usage. The portraits of himself 
he pamted at this period reveal the ravages wrought by the last few 
years on his person. He has grown fat and unwieldy; an unhealthy 
puffiness of flesh has become apparent in his cheeks and throat. His 
features are contracted, as if with pain, and the bandages round his 
head under his red cap seem to suggest continuous sufferings from 
head-ache. The sunken, bloodshot appearance of his eyes, and the 
swollen eyelids further indicate a gradual weakening of his sight. 

What artist, indeed, had ever made severer demands upon his 
powers of vision ? Consider the strain to which he had constantly 
subjected them, the long education by which he had made them sub- 
servient to his will, teaching his eyes to read the depths of the pro- 
foundest shadows, to seize the minutest gradations of light, to express 
them in all their infinitude, with no abatement of the general unity, 
with no forgetfulness of the final effect. Consider the long-sustained 
effort of an undertaking so minute and laborious as the Hundred 
Guilder Piece. Rembrandt was condemned to expiate the abuse of 
his powers by a period of enforced idleness. So, at least, we interpret 
the absence of any work by him from 1662 to 1664. His etchings, 
which had gradually declined in number, cease entirely from 1661 
onwards. For some time before they were marked by an increasing 
hastiness and loss of delicacy. The life-studies and landscapes also 
come to an abrupt end, together with those etchings and landscapes 
in which he had taken so great a delight. When at last Remlirandt 
was able to resume his painting, his style had undergone a marked 
change. He was no longer able to attack complex subjects, which 
necessitated study and preparation. He now confmcd himself in 
general to one or two figures of large size, which he was content 
to sketch broadly on his canvas. All unnecessary details were dis- 
pensed with ; he limited himself to the essentials of expression, on 
which he concentrated all his powers. In time his harmonies become 



iSo 



REMBRANDT 



less intricate, his effects less subtle, his palette less varied ; but he 
shows an increasing predilection for depth and richness in the few 
colours to which he restricts himself. The violets disappear, and their 
place is taken by vermilions, blended with brilliant yellows and tawny 
browns. The execution shows a growing breadth, simplicity, and 
decision. When the work prolongs itself unduly, the master's nerves 
are no longer under perfect control, and he has recourse to violence, 
where before he was content that patience should solve the 
problem. 

As Dr. Bode remarks, the productions of this last period have 

many analogies with his youthful 
works. They are rather studies 
than portraits, and for most of them 
he himself and his intimates were 
the models. Just as in his early 
pictures he made use of the butt-end 
of the brush to draw the hair and 
beard of his figures in the moist 
paint, so now he has recourse to 
the palette-knife, and lays on bold 
masses of colour, which he after- 
wards works up into luminous relief 
with an eager, feverish touch. And 
yet, as Felibien naively remarks : 
" The broad and even coarse treat- 
ment which gives to some of these 
works the appearance of hasty 
sketches on close examination, is 
amply justified by their effect at a 
certain distance. As the spectator 
recedes the vigorous strokes of the 
brush, and the loaded colour, as- 
sume their legitimate functions, 
melting and blending into the de- 
sired harmony." ^ 
But with Rembrandt we have always to reckon with the un- 
expected. Side by side with these tempestuous creations we find 
works of the most impeccable execution. Occasionally the same 
canvas shows startling inequalities. Some passages are finished 
with elaborate care ; others are barely sketched. In one place the 
impasto is loaded to excess, in others the ground is scarcely covered. 
The Death of L2icrctia of this period is an example of such anomalies ; 
its remarkable breadth and freedom is tempered by a certain reticence 




PEN SKETCH HEIGHTENED WITH SEPIA. 

(Lord Warwick's Collection.) 



1 Entretien sur les Vies et les Ouvrages des plus excellents Peintres. 5 vols. i2mo., 
1725. Vol. III. p. 458. 

All this is hardly exceptional : hardly even peculiar. At least we recognise its counter- 
part in the pro7npt and potent inspirations 0/ the old age of Velasquez — of the old age of 
David Cox. — F. IV. 



"THE DEATH OF LUCRETIA 



381 



in parts. The subject was one that pleased the master, and he appears 
to have already treated it, for in the inventory of one Abraham de 
Wyss, dated March i, 1658, Dr. Bredius discovers "a large picture 
of Liicrctia, by Rembrandt van Ryn." The Litcretia of 1664 is 
signed and dated. It was formerly in the San Donato collec- 
tion, and we saw it not long since in Paris. The life-size figure 
is rather more than three-quarters' length. Lucrctia holds in her 
right hand a dagger, its point towards her breast. The other hand 
is upraised in a gesture of despair, as if calling Heaven to w^itness 
that death is the victim's only refuge. The young matron wears a 
tunic of golden brown over a white chemisette, and a necklace of 




rilE JFWISH BRIUK (bOAZ AND KUTH?). 

About 1665 (Ryksmuseum, Amsterdam). 



pearls ; a medallion with a large pearl attached hangs on her breast. 
Her head is slightly bent, and is crowned by a golden diadem, round 
which is coiled a mass of briq^ht brown hair. The reo^ular features, 
the pure oval of the face, the rich hair, recall one of the fair 
Venetians immortalised by Titian. In the execution, which is more 
discreet and supple than is usual at this period, we note further 
reminiscences of the painter of Cadore, for whom, judging by the 
examples of his works collected by the master, Rembrandt seems to 
have had a deep admiration. But the harmony of the amber 
tones, and the luminous brilliance of the carnations against the 
dark background are very characteristic of Rembrandt, and justify 
Burger's criticism ; " It is painted with gold." The work is more 



382 



REMBRANDT 



summary, 
a hio^her 




I.ABAN AND LEAH. 

Pen drawing (Duke of Devonshire's Collection). 



but the expressive quality, on the other hand, is of 
order in the Workers in the Vineyard, a picture in 

the Wallace collection, 
probably painted at about 
the same period. Here 
the figures, like that of 
the Lucretia, are life- 
size, and three-quarters' 
lencrth. Seated at a table, 
his purse beside him, the 
gray-haired master of the 
vineyard is paying his 
labourers. He wears a 
high turban, and a red 
robe, opening over awhite 
shirt with an ornamental 
pattern. Resting one 
hand on the table, he 
points with the other to 
the account on a sheet 
of paper before him, to 
which he calls the atten- 
tion of one among the three labourers, another of whom wears a mili- 
tary dress, and a helmet with white plumes. The harmony, a de- 
liberately austere scheme of reds, toned whites, and gray or yellowish 
browns, has peculiar dis- 
tinction. But the main 
beauty of the composition 
lies in the nobility of the 
conception, in the air of 
authority on the bene- 
volent face of the master, 
outraged at the unjust 
claims by which his bounty 
is rewarded. 

To this same period, 
about the year 1665, we 
may probably assign a pic- 
ture of the Van der Hoop 
collection, in the Ryks- 
museum, the traditional 
title of which. The Jeicisk 
Bride,s&Q:ms to usaspurely 
arbitrary as that of The 
Nig hi Watch. The 

theme, though simple in treatment, is very enigmatical. The elderly 
man who lays one hand on the young woman's shoulder, the other 
on her bre